Uber opens new Paris hub to develop flying taxi tech

Up, up and away! But in French.

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Uber is going up, up and away as it launches a new research center near Paris.

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Uber will open its new Advanced Technology Center in Paris, with a focus on AI and its Uber Elevate program, the company announced Thursday.

The research center, which will be Uber's first outside North America, will open this fall and see a €20 million ($23.5 million) investment over the next five years.

The ride-hailing company also announced a 5-year research partnership with École polytechnique, a prestigious engineering school based in Palaiseau, a suburb southwest of Paris. Their initial projects will focus on AI, aviation and all-electric transport.

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"Building the future of our cities will require the best and brightest minds working together," Uber's CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi, said in a statement.

"With world-class engineers and a leading role in global aviation, France is the perfect place to advance our Uber Elevate program and new technology initiatives."

Earlier this month, Uber agreed to share information with NASA in an effort to explore the impact of of flying taxi operations in urban environments.

Thursday's announcement comes in the midst of a charm offensive by Khosrowshahi, who met French President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday as Uber announced expanded health insurance for drivers across Europe.

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