Uber wants to be the ‘Amazon and Google of transportation’


Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi last year wanted to make his expanding ride-sharing company the “Amazon of transportation” with e-scooters and e-bikes added to the platform. Now he’s tagging on being the “Google of transportation” as part of his goals for the company.

At the Uber Elevate Summit in Washington, D.C., Wednesday, Khosrowshahi overviewed “all the ways to get around your city.” It’s no longer just ordering a taxi from an app. There’s Uber Copter coming to New York City next month for helicopter rides to the airport, and Uber Eats drone deliveries in San Diego. New self-driving cars are coming back online. And starting next year, “we want to take the transportation grid into the third dimension,” he said.

He’s talking about Uber Air, the flying taxi network set to start trials next year in Dallas, Los Angeles, and Melbourne. The electric passenger drones are supposed to start flying passengers on short-distance commutes, about 1,000 feet in the air at speeds up to 150 mph, in 2023. 

With the new additions to the Uber platform, Khosrowshahi sees Uber as becoming as pervasive as Google search. “We don’t just want to be the Amazon of transportation, but also the Google of transportation. We want to be your everyday use case when you wake up and you go to work, or you go out to eat or you go see a friend, we want to be there,” he said at the end of the conference.

Part of everyday use means expanding Uber beyond cars. That can mean aerial trips or the more grounded e-bikes and scooters option through Jump, the bike-share company Uber acquired last year. At Uber Elevate, a new version of its scooters were revealed with a bigger frame and larger wheels. The new scooters — with improved brakes — will arrive in U.S. cities by the end of this month and in Europe later this summer.

The new Jump scooter is coming soon.

The new scooter announcement comes on the same day that Bird announced it had acquired the San Francisco-based scooter- and moped-sharing company Scoot. Scoot will continue to operate the same way it has in San Francisco, Santiago, and Barcelona. 

In San Francisco, Scoot is one of two scooter companies allowed to rent out scooters. City officials said all will remain the same even though Bird now owns Scoot. 

Back in D.C., the Uber CEO ended the conference with his ambitious goal to connect Uber users to shared air travel and other options like e-scooters, noting that “cities need to have transportation that is electric, safe, shared, and connected.” 

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