Uber partners with NASA ahead of flying taxi initiative

Phillip Butler
November 9, 2017

Under this NASA deal, Uber will develop the software traffic management system that would be used to manage these flying vehicles.

Ride-sharing startup Uber Technologies Inc. and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration have signed an agreement to develop new traffic concepts that will enable a network of flying cars to safely traverse US cities.

The company also announced that it signed a deal with Sandstone Properties - which has 20 sites across the greater Los Angeles area - to build "skyports" to serve as takeoff and drop-off points for flying taxis.

The flying taxi project could drastically reduce trip times by avoiding traffic while remaining relatively low-cost. The user open the Uber app, but instead of choosing the options that have been around for years-UberPOOL, UberX-they go straight for UberAIR, because it's nearly dinner time and they're still far away from their home city.

Uber has been involved with regulatory tussles around the globe over its app-based taxi service, and is hoping to avoid similar rows over its air plans. Today, he added Los Angeles to the mix.

The company's plans may cause some skepticism considering 2020 is only two years away.

The ride-hailing service published details of its "on demand aviation" ambitions a year ago which it has called Uber Elevate.


In 2019, the recommendations developed by NASA and its partners will be shared with the Federal Aviation Administration, which will determine how they should be integrated into existing air traffic systems.

But some experts don't think Uber is being overly ambitious.

It hopes the futuristic aircraft will be ready for demonstration flights by 2020.

Flying cars in Los Angeles won't just be something dreamed up by Hollywood movie studios if Uber has its way.

NASA, which is yet to comment on the partnership, has previously announced it was working with a variety of companies to develop urban air mobility. The company's vision involves a fleet of vertical take-off and landing aircraft that will fly at a low altitude, and will be able to pick up and drop off up to four passengers at selected locations.

The idea of flying cars isn't new, of course, but has been very slow to catch on - much slower than past generations had imagined.

Other reports by Ligue1talk

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