Think India Is Ready for Uber’s Sky High Taxi Service? Think Again

India has been shortlisted as one of the countries, where Uber’s air taxi program may take off by 2022. 

Tech and Auto
3 min read
Hindi Female

A couple of years ago, the idea of flying cars and urban aerial transportation looked far fetched. Many thought of the Jetson-esque future idea as outlandish and something that could only be possible in Hollywood movies.

Today, a company barely 10 years old is offering its customers a chance to hail a taxi that will fly its customers from one destination to another. This, of course, in 2022.

Ride-hailing service Uber has already picked Dallas and San Diego as the first two destinations and has shortlisted India among countries like Japan, Australia and Brazil as the next potential hotspot for this project, called the Uber Elevate program.

The big question here is: Is India ready to sustain a project like this?

The ride-hailing service has established certain criteria and framework according to which it will select its next city. These will be anchored around three priority principles: sizeable market, local commitment and enabling conditions.

The Uber Elevate team has invited conversations with stakeholders across major cities in these countries and will announce the chosen Uber International Air City within the next six months.

However, the state of India's current public transport situation isn't likely to help its case by 2022, as Uber’s got these extra caveats that the country will have to meet.

The Plight of Public Transport

The Uber Elevate project needs a multi-modal solution with a strong public transit, ride-sharing, bike-share system. Yes, the metro rail system in Delhi and Mumbai has done a good job connecting some of the most crucial parts of the city, but the roads and traffic conditions still have a lot of ground to cover to be called efficient.

Since the Uber Elevate program will run from points called Skyports, from where the air cabs will take off, before anything else, there will have to be an efficient transportation system that will need to be setup, which will ensure smooth, traffic-free and on-time connectivity to the Skyports for this program to be a successful one.

The Weather is Changing

Another highlight was the need for conducive environmental conditions that are well suited for aviation operations including a lack of extreme weather, temperature, and elevation.

Take Delhi’s weather this year for instance. It has been crazy! From dust-storms to heavy rains to blistering heatwaves. Things were worse in the northern part of the country where rains caused heavy landslides, while in the south Kerala had to endure extreme flooding this monsoon.

Think about it. Can a system based on air transportation function smoothly and on time in places where the weather changes by the hour?



In order for such an extensive project to take place, policies and regulations need to accommodate new mobility technologies such as ride-sharing, dockless bikes, autonomous vehicles and drones.

Where ride sharing has now become a part of the transport ecosystem, autonomous vehicles and drones are still looking to make inroads into the country. The recent clearances given for the operation of commercial drones is indeed a good sign, but going autonomous by 2022 looks unlikely.

However, Uber’s optimism is not unfounded. India has proved to be a gold mine for Uber in terms of market size hence it thinks a project like Uber Elevate is deemed to fly.

Literally! The project could not only ease the transportation problem for densely populated cities like Delhi and Mumbai, but also help reduce the carbon footprint as it plans to run on a robust electrical grid supplied by low-carbon intense energy.

Of course, there's still many a slip between the cup and the lip.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

Read Latest News and Breaking News at The Quint, browse for more from tech-and-auto

Topics:  Delhi   Mumbai   Uber 

Speaking truth to power requires allies like you.
Become a Member
3 months
12 months
12 months
Check Member Benefits
Read More