NASA and Uber Are Working Together to Bring Us Flying Cars

Herbert Rhodes
November 9, 2017

Travellers will request their ride, just as they would a vehicle. "Our target, and this is ambitious but I think it's very achievable, is to make this less expensive than driving your own vehicle", Holden said.

Uber is joining forces with NASA to develop an air-traffic management system for its flying taxi service, the company announced Wednesday at a technology conference in Lisbon, as first reported by CNN.

In addition, Uber is planning to test a flying taxi service of some sort in Los Angeles in a couple years, introducing an alternative to both traditional air and ground travel. Flying cars such as the kind seen in The Jetsons are unlikely to ever become a reality due to the massive issues they pose, but compact flying vehicles that transport groups of people relatively short distances are more reasonable. 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.

For a company that has notoriously butted heads with regulatory agencies, Uber's cooperation with NASA shows its commitment to making its flying vehicle project, called Uber Elevate, a reality.

"We are bringing uberAIR to Los Angeles in no small part because Mayor (Eric) Garcetti has embraced technology and innovation, making L.A. a hub for the future", Uber Chief Product Officer Jeff Holden said. The aerial vehicles will serve as an alternative to helicopters, which Uber says are too noisy, too risky, too expensive and not environmentally friendly enough to fly in urban environments. The flying taxis will be emissions-free and take off and land on the tops of buildings. At launch UberAIR will be the same price as Uber X, and eventually the company hopes to make it cheaper than driving your own vehicle.

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Uber however won't be constructing said aircraft.

Now we just need Sydney to get on board. Dubai is now slated to be the first location for launch outside of the US.

Holden saw Boeing's acquisition, which was announced last month, as a positive sign for Uber's plan.

UberAir's 2020 plan calls for setting up "skyports" at Los Angeles International Airport, downtown L.A., Santa Monica and Sherman Oaks.

Other reports by TheSundaySentinel

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