Uber, the ride-hailing startup that has transformed how people get a ride, is now offering gift cards for its service.
In a blog post, Uber said that, starting on Monday (Sept. 26), consumers can give gift cards to people to use for free rides via Uber. “Whether it’s exploring a new city, a night out with friends or simply a safe ride home, Uber is ready to help get the special people in your life where they want to go. And treating them to these experiences has never been easier with the introduction of the Uber gift card. Give the gift of Uber to anyone in the U.S. by stopping by one of 35,000 retail locations that gift cards will arrive in over the next few weeks, including Walmart, Target and CVS.”
The company said the gift cards will also soon be available online. The gift cards can be redeemed directly in the app and never expire.
The new gift card option comes as Uber is making a lot of innovating news. It is reportedly looking into vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) aircraft as a new form of short-haul transportation. According to Recode, Jeff Holden, Uber products head, announced at the Nantucket Conference that the company is researching the concept for use in cities and predicted that the technology could be available within the next 10 years.
VTOL describes the way that helicopters take off, land and hover, but the planes that Holden is referring to could have fixed wings, multiple rotors and could use batteries to reduce noise. Holden sees no reason why these planes could not also be autonomous.
Holden, once with Amazon and Groupon, was involved in Uber’s recent rollout of self-driving cars in Pittsburgh. The self-driving technology was accelerated a few years ago after it was first mentioned by CEO and Cofounder Travis Kalanick. While VTOL is ambitious, Uber has been pursuing the idea for some time, and Holden’s idea of having landing sites in places such as the top of buildings is not unreasonable considering the ubiquity of helipads already on buildings and hospitals.