Flying Cars? Uber Sold Its Air Taxi Business — Now It Might Want Back In

Zinger Key Points
  • Uber files trademarks for Uber Air for several items, suggesting some potential future plans.
  • A large group of eVTOL companies hit the public market over the last two years, including one that has Uber as an investor.

Leading ride-share company Uber Technologies UBER recently filed several trademarks that could suggest an expansion of the company’s business to a new sector.

The filings come years after the company exited the same business line.

Let’s dive in.

What Happened: Uber is well known for its ride-share business that offers services in many of the top cities in the U.S. and other parts of the world. The company also owns Uber Eats, one of the leading third-party food delivery platforms used by restaurants and retailers.

Uber could have its eyes set on the skies next with several trademarks related to air transport.

Uber filed applications for trademarks for the term “Uber Air” for several items including aerial rideshare, vertical takeoff, and landing and drone delivery services. The filing was reported by trademark attorney Josh Gerben of Gerben Law.

The filing for Uber Air comes two years after Uber sold off its Uber Elevate brand and business to Joby Aviation Inc JOBY.

As part of the acquisition, Uber invested $75 million in Joby, bringing its total investments in the electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) company to $125 million. The deal announcement said the two companies would integrate their products into each other apps, working as partners on the future of ride-sharing on the ground and in the air.

Joby went public in a SPAC merger in 2021, with Uber listed as one of its investors at the time. Joby also said that its flights would appear in the Uber app on a non-exclusive basis in the future.

Related Link: Hey George Jetson, Check This Out! Flying Taxis Are Coming Soon 

Why It’s Important: The big question mark around the trademark filings is if Uber is planning to launch its own “vertical takeoff and landing” company under the Uber Air brand or partner with an existing one like Joby.

Uber could be exploring all options and have regret about getting out of the eVTOL sector after seeing the sector come closer to having real flights in big cities coming closer to a reality for consumers.

“Advanced air mobility has the potential to be exponentially positive for the environment and future generations. This deal allows us to deepen our partnership with Joby, the clear leader in this field, to accelerate the path to market for these technologies,” Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said at the time of the Elevate transaction.

In April 2022, Uber announced it would add trains, buses, planes and car rental as transportation options for customers in the U.K., as reported by Benzinga.

At the time, the move was seen as a way for Uber to get closer to its intent on having a travel “superapp.”

Uber Regional General Manager Northern and Eastern Europe Jamie Heywood said Uber hoped to be a “one-stop shop for all your travel needs” at the time.

The launch by Uber saw the company partnering with existing companies to offer quick booking for customers and not actually launching its own train or airline.

“Later this year we plan to incorporate flights, and in the future hotels, by integrating leading partners into the Uber app to create a seamless door-to-door travel experience,” Heywood said.

Khosrowshahi said Uber planned to offer more transportation options in the future.

Why It Matters: Uber competing more aggressively in the eVTOL space could put pressure on the numerous companies in the sector that have gone public including Archer Aviation Inc ACHR, Lilium NV LILM and Joby. Electric vehicle company XPeng Inc - ADR XPEV is also working on a flying car.

One analyst called the eVTOL sector a trillion-dollar opportunity in April 2022. 

The renewed interest in the eVTOL sector by Uber could also put pressure on Lyft Inc LYFT

JOBY, UBER Price Action: Joby shares closed Thursday up 8.56% to $4.06 versus a 52-week range of $3.15 to $7.15

Uber shares closed Thursday up 2.38% versus a 52-week range of $19.90 to $43.92.

Read Next: Elon Musk's Starlink Files For Data Imagery, GPS Location Trademarks: Why This Expert Says They're 'Something To Pay Attention To'

Photo: Courtesy Joby Aviation


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