The air taxi business is at least a couple of years from taking off, but it’s already seeing consolidation among start-ups. California-based Joby Aviation, which is developing all-electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft, is acquiring Uber Elevate, the aerial ride-hailing division of Uber.
The move will allow Joby to use Uber’s app to offer air taxi rides when the company’s aircraft eventually enters service, which could be as soon as 2023. While terms of the transaction were not released, Uber has agreed to invest $75 million in Joby Aviation. Earlier this year, Uber invested $50 million in Joby as part of the company’s Series C financing round.
“We were proud to partner with Uber Elevate last year and we’re even prouder to be welcoming them into the Joby team today,” JoeBen Bevirt, founder and CEO of Joby Aviation, said in a release announcing the deal.
For Uber, the transaction comes one day after selling its autonomous-driving division known as the Advanced Technologies Group to Aurora, a self-driving car start-up.
“Aurora is going to know exactly what to build, what are the routes, what are the skills that the driver needs to learn in order to go after the largest segment of the market and essentially build that technology in the simplest way,” Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi told CNBC’s “Squawk Box.”