Uber contracts with NASA to develop technology for flying taxis

  • Uber contracts with NASA to develop technology for flying taxis

Uber contracts with NASA to develop technology for flying taxis

The airborne taxis are part of Uber's Elevate project, which could see pilot flights around Los Angeles, Dallas-Fort Worth and Dubai in a couple of years.

Reuters explains the ride-sharing giant is working with the governmental agency to create software that will manage flying vehicles similarly to the service they already have on the streets.

In an interview with Bloomberg, Uber Chief Product Officer Jeff Holden said that testing for the program, called UberAir, would begin in 2020, with short flights of around 25 miles. This is reportedly the first low-altitude airspace contract for NASA, after several rocket-developing contracts since the 1950s. Holden now said that the company is adding Los Angeles among the cities they plan to elevate from nightmarish traffic.

A promotional video illustrated the app would work in a similar way to the current set-up for ordering a auto ride. Then, there's the lack of infrastructure fundamental for their support.

Uber expects uberAIR trips from the Los Angeles airport to the Staples Center will take less than 30 minutes during rush hour. Like any other aircraft, what is now being referred to as Uber Air would need to win approval from federal aviation authorities as well as officials in L.A. and other cities where it might want to operate.

But some experts don't think Uber is being overly ambitious. The vehicles would be quieter, safer, more affordable and more environmentally friendly, according to the company.

Uber, who has been going through some organizational restructuring, seems like it has been slowly getting back on track.

If it all works, the payoff would be a new supply or revenue for the company, and hopefully less stressful rush-hour commutes for consumers.

In its presentation, Uber showed how a 16-mile ride in an Uber vehicle from Los Angeles International Airport to the Staples Center downtown would usually take about an hour and 20 minutes.

It should really come as no surprise that L.A.is one of Uber's priorities, considering how the Californian city clocked an average of 104 hours of traffic jams in 2016 alone, making it the most traffic congested city in the world.