Providing an air-taxi service in two major cities by 2020 is a huge goal for any company, and an especially large goal for Uber, which has weathered multiple scandals in the past year.
Uber is still not profitable, and it lost $4.5 billion last year, according to CBS. The company also separated from its former CEO, Travis Kalanick, who was embroiled in a scandal related to sexual harassment and numerous lawsuits filed against Uber while he was in charge.
Safety concerns of flying taxis are only compounded by the firm’s recent March accident in Arizona involving the death of a pedestrian during a test of one of its self-driving cars. Uber’s new CEO Dara Khosrowshahi has stated publicly that Uber is not ending its autonomous vehicle testing unit. Uber is, however, undergoing a complete review of its safety procedures and does not currently have any self-driving vehicles on the road.
Despite these obstacles, Khosrowshahi is bullish about the company’s plans for air travel. “Ambition is what has created this company from the very beginning,” he told CBS. “Part of what made this company great is that we take big, bold bets. That’s part of the norms and the culture of this company, and this is another big, bold bet that we think ultimately is something that the cities of the future are going to need.”