Uber Collaborates with NASA to Develop Flying Taxi

Uber Collaborates with NASA to Develop Flying Taxi

On November 8, 2017, Uber announced to introduce paid, intra-city flying taxi services from 2023 and has unveiled its partnership with NASA for the flying taxi project

Uber — a popular transport and taxi service company, on November 8, 2017, unveiled a partnership with NASA in the development of unmanned low-altitude air traffic management systems for its flying taxi initiative. The flights will be operated by a pilot in the initial days, however it could be operated automatically in the near future.

Jeff Holden, Chief product officer in Uber said, “These are exactly the kind of partners we need to make UberAIR a reality.”  He further added, “UberAIR will be performing far more flights on a daily basis than it has ever done before. Doing this safely and efficiently is going to require a foundational change in airspace management technologies.”

The electric vertical take-off and landing vehicles (eVTOLS) “differ from helicopters in that they are orders of magnitude quieter, safer, more affordable, and more environmentally-friendly,” the company said, adding that journeys will be priced competitively with a standard Uber trip.

The air taxi will be able to travel on electricity with a speed of around 200mph. Uber said the propulsion system of the craft, to be known as uberAIR will use multiple small rotors, which is expected to reduce the noise of the system during the travel. The customers would be able to book the taxi through smartphone similarly as the ground-based taxis are ordered.

The company said, “Uber’s participation in NASA’s UTM (Unmanned Traffic Management) Project will help the company’s goal of starting demonstration flights of uberAIR in select US cities by 2020.”

The Uber’s software engineering expertise combining with NASA’s decades of airspace experience to tackle is a crucial step to propel growth of the Uber market. The first demonstration flights are expected to air in 2020, however flights for commercial operations are expected to air by 2023 — a plenty of time for the 2028 Olympic Games in Los Angeles.

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