New York-based Blade launched back in 2014 to bring ridesharing to helicopters. The aviation startup currently offers on demand rides around New York City, like rides to the Hampton for $800. Now, Blade ($50M raised) is offering rides to Bay Area commuters, with trips from SFO and Oakland Airport to the South Bay, Monterey and Napa.
To be clear, these rides costs at least $200 per person.
As Blade continues to expand (it plans to launch in India next), it may have some competition in the flying taxi market. Uber has plans to commercially deploy a ridesharing network for the sky — dubbed UberAIR — by 2023. Uber has also claimed that using its air taxi service will be cheaper than owning a car.
There's also Kitty Hawk ($1M raised), a Larry Page-backed startup with plans for an autonomous and fully electric air taxi. Volocopter ($35.2M) is developing its vision for air taxis that integrate into metropolitan transportation and Lillium ($101.4M raised) is working on bringing its electric flying jets to the public within the next six years.
Aviation company Airbus, which has partnered with Blade to to launch an intra-city helicopter service outside of the U.S., plans to test autonomous flying taxis in Germany this summer.
Reminder: Apple is finally unveiling its plans to take on Hollywood and the news business at its live event today. Apple already announced upgrades to several of its core hardware products last week, including AirPods, the iPad Air and iPad Mini.
We'll be live tweeting the event, so you can follow along here.