Uber is to work with NASA to build flying vehicle software

Mandy Carr
November 9, 2017

The company announced Wednesday that it will partner with NASA on a new flying taxi service, and that Los Angeles will be one of the first testing grounds.

Uber has moved a step closer in making its ambitious flying vehicle plans a reality by partnering with space agency NASA to provide the technology to make the cars city-friendly by 2020.

The popular carpool company will be unveiling their UberAir service - a network of small electric aircrafts that can be requested like a auto - in Los Angeles, Dallas, and Dubai.

The flying taxi project could drastically reduce trip times by avoiding traffic while remaining relatively affordable. Two months later, Uber announced Uber Elevate, its ambitious plan to start testing flying taxis in Texas and Dubai by 2020.

It's no secret that Uber has been eyeing this potential future, indicating that it may launch a low-altitude flying taxi service not dissimilar from its road-based transportation. It expects to offer rides in the flying taxis for prices comparable to its UberX service.

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Los Angeles will be the company's third test city.

Uber's work with NASA will help solve the problem of operating hundreds or thousands of aircraft over cities and allow uberAIR services to work alongside existing air traffic control systems around busy airports, Reuters said. And the Federal Aviation Administration must ensure that the aircraft meet safety regulations, not to mention how they'll fare alongside other aircraft. "Our target, and this is ambitious but I think it's very achievable, is to make this less expensive than driving your own vehicle", Holden said. "I think 2020 is realistic for a vehicle that is not replacing an airplane but replacing a auto", Richard Pat Anderson, director of the Flight Research Center at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, told Wired at the time.

It hopes to launch UberAir before the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles.

And it seems that Uber has been making the moves to ensure it will happen. Uber isn't the only company toying with such technology - a number of other companies, including startup AeroMobil, are also developing airborne vehicles.

Now, the contract with NASA will help figure out how various aircraft, including drones, and possibly flying taxis, can coexist safely over urban areas. That's down from about one hour and 20 minutes by auto, according to CNN. The ride-hailing app thinks the first flights could begin within three years in USA cities.

Other reports by Guamnewswatch

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