Date
20 February 2018
Uber Technologies' chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi expects the ride-hailing business to become profitable in three years. Photo: Bloomberg
Uber Technologies' chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi expects the ride-hailing business to become profitable in three years. Photo: Bloomberg

Uber to be profitable within three years, CEO says

Despite its record loss and high cash burn rate, Uber Technologies’ chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi expects the company to become profitable in three years, Bloomberg reports.

Uber will be able to turn a profit as the ride-hailing business matures, Khosrowshahi told Bloomberg News editor-in-chief John Micklethwait in an event at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

The company also plans to reap the rewards from its investments in autonomous vehicles and other areas, the Uber CEO said.

Even as the company pursues “very aggressive” expansion and investments, it is finding ways to be more efficient, Khosrowshahi said. “We will be profitable before 2022,” he added.

Uber’s net loss widened to US$1.46 billion in the third quarter of 2017, up from US$1.06 billion in the previous three-month period, as the company struggled to fend off competition, legal challenges and regulatory scrutiny, Bloomberg said, citing people with knowledge of the matter.

Khosrowshahi said the company is investing heavily in autonomous driving technology and will start operating the cars in some cities within 18 months – “not as a test case, as a real [use] case out there”.

He said the vehicles will only carry passengers on select routes in the first stage, but will expand over time as the software and mapping systems improve.

He believes the autonomous driving technology is advancing so quickly that “a child born today won’t need to learn to drive”.

At the  DLD technology conference in Munich on Monday, Khosrowshahi said fully autonomous taxis are still 10 to 15 years away because of “the effort needed to create 3D maps and since sensors are still too expensive”, Bloomberg reported.

Regarding the company’s investment and partnership with NASA in developing flying cars, Khosrowshahi predicted that flying cars will be zipping across US skies within the coming decade. “There will be people flying around Dallas, Texas,” he said.

Since taking over as CEO from Travis Kalanick last summer, Khosrowshahi has been leading the company as it struggles to fend off increasing competition, allegations of sexual harassment, legal challenges and regulatory scrutiny. He said his goal for 2018 is to “get back to normalcy”.

He believes the technology industry will face more scrutiny, especially as it brings about changes to transportation and other areas affecting people’s safety.

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BN/CG

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