Uber partners with NASA on flying taxis

Uber partners with NASA on flying taxis

Uber partners with NASA on flying taxis

At the Web Summit tech conference in Lisbon, Portugal, Uber announced that it has signed a deal with NASA in order to develop traffic systems for its flying auto project that it hopes to finally get off the ground in 2020.

It was presented at a technology conference Wednesday in Lisbon, Portugal (local time).

Traveling at a hurtling 322 kph, an 80-minute commute in rush hour commute will be reduced to four in their soaring four-passenger vehicles, Uber says. The company is looking to speed development of a new industry of electric, on-demand, urban air taxis, Holden said, which customers could order up via smartphone in ways that parallel the ground-based taxi alternatives it has popularised while expanding into more than 600 cites since 2011. "Uber wouldn't even build something like this if it wasn't for everyone", said Holden. "High costs, safety concerns and regulatory burdens are likely to limit the use of this overhyped technology".

The group first revealed its plans for the "on demand aviation service" a year ago, and said they would be trialled in Dallas and Dubai.

The ride-hailing startup's ambitious plans for a network of pod-like flying taxis that zoom around the sky were first revealed in April.

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Earlier this year, Uber hired NASA veterans Mark Moore and Tom Prevot to run, respectively, its aircraft vehicle design team and its air traffic management software program, Reuters reported.

Uber said it's also working with aircraft, infrastructure and real estate partners to operate fixed routes between city hubs called "Skyports".

Mr Holden said: "By the time the Olympics come in 2028, we believe Los Angeles residents will be making heavy use of UberAIR, showcasing one of the most advanced urban transportation systems to the world, and because UberAIR is all-electric from day one, it will have a net positive impact on the environment".

Uber also announced that it signed an agreement with Los Angeles' Sandstone Properties to develop its Skyport roof-top take-off and landing terminals.

The plan for launching in LA is to rely on 20 strategically placed flight bases around the city, starting with LAX, Downtown, Sherman Oaks and Santa Monica.

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