Drone taxis are an opportunity that Uber has long foreseen. It was likely a part of the calculation for accepting Google’s $248M Investment in 2013. Travis Kalanick, Uber’s CEO, was clear about the opportunity when he told a technology conference in 2014 that:
The Uber experience is expensive because it’s not just the car but the other dude in the car. When there’s no other dude in the car, the cost [of taking an Uber] gets cheaper than owning a vehicle.
And, as I discussed I my last column, Uber just put a lot of money behind that vision. So, by the time that the driverless cars become viable, Uber will have had a long hand in its development.
But, here’s the rub. By that time, Uber will no longer be a feisty startup with nothing to protect. It will most likely be a highly profitable and richly valued public company.