Uber plan to create flying taxis moved a step closer as the turn-to hail the firm has announced that it will open a lab in Paris to develop them.
It will invest €20 million(£17.5 million) over five years to create AI algorithms and air traffic control systems, among other technology.
It will also partner with the prestigious engineering school Ecole Polytechnique.
The announcement will be seen as a coup for the President Macron who wants to make France a global technology hub.
“With world-class engineers and a leadership role in global aviation, France is the perfect place to advance our Uber Raising program, and new initiatives in the field of technology,” Uber chief executive officer Dara Khosrowshahi said in a press release.
“We are very pleased to be collaborating with the Ecole Polytechnique, the future of urban mobility, on land and in the air.”A strained relationship
Uber Raising is an ambitious project, with the firm hope to launch sky taxis by 2023.
He works in collaboration with Nasa and the american Army on the project, and has two aircraft manufacturers – Aircraft and Pipistrel Aircraft are also on board.
Previously, Uber has had a tense relationship with the French authorities. The government has closed one of its services – UberPop – in 2015, and the company has temporarily closed its Paris service in 2016 in a sign of protest against stringent new standards.
The president Macron met with technology companies, earlier this week at the Elysee Palace in Paris to discuss how they deal with issues such as data protection and false news.
On the back of the meeting, a series of investments were announced, including:
Facebook will fund 48 scholarships of artificial intelligence research in four French universities
IBM will create 1 800 jobs over the next two years in France to work on the AI, the blockchain and the internet of things, technology
Food delivery Service Deliveroo will invest €100 million in France over the next two to three years