Uber partners with NASA on flying taxis

Pablo Tucker
November 8, 2017

Two months later, Uber announced Uber Elevate, its ambitious plan to start testing flying taxis in Texas and Dubai by 2020.

Holden also said Uber signed an agreement with NASA to help develop a specialized air traffic control network to keep track of our newly crowded skies.

The flying taxi project could drastically reduce trip times by avoiding traffic while remaining relatively affordable.

"Technology will allow L.A. residents to literally fly over the city's historically bad traffic, giving them time back to use in far more productive ways", Holden said in comments shared with USA TODAY.

"At scale, we expect UberAIR will perform tens of thousands of flights each day across the city - at those levels, all the time savings will have a noticeable positive impact on the region's economy". "Doing this safely and efficiently is going to require a foundational change in airspace management technologies", said Uber chief product officer Jeff Holden in a statement.

"We are very much embracing the regulatory bodies and starting very early in discussions about this and getting everyone aligned with the vision", he said of Uber's plans to introduce what he called "ride-sharing in the sky".

Uber claims a trip from LAX to the Staples Centre - a 41 minute journey by road - will take under 30 minutes in one of its flying cabs. And now it says it will partner with Nasa to create a traffic management system for low-flying ariel vehicles.

Uber's flying vehicle initiative, dubbed "Uber Elevate", comes at a time when Uber has faced multiple controversies including dozens of civil suits, the ousting of founder Travis Kalanick as chief executive officer and criminal probes from the US Justice Department. That's well ahead of the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles, where the service could be especially useful as an already congested city prepares to host athletes and fans from around the world.

Uber envisions a fleet of electric jet-powered vehicles - part helicopter, part drone and part fixed-wing aircraft - running multiple small rotors capable of both vertical take off and landing and rapid horizontal flight.

Uber has teamed up with NASA to design a traffic management system for when the service is rolled out.

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