Uber collaborates with NASA on flying taxi project

Published on : Thursday, November 9, 2017

nasaUber has signed a contract with NASA to develop a flying taxi software and announced the ambitious plans for the electronic drone-like flying cabs to test flights in LA in 2020.




Jeff Holden, the company’s chief product officer made announcement of the new service contract  Web Summit in Lisbon. It revealed its intention to begin testing four-passenger, 200mph UberAir flying taxi service across Los Angeles in 2020.



Uber’s flying taxi service will be electric and it would take 80 minutes by car, in rush-hour traffic will be reduced by four minutes.Uber plans to get the air service operational for the 2028 LA Olympics however, experts remains skeptical if it would ever become a reality.



The execution of this project will require a foundational change in airspace management technologies, amalgamating Uber’s software engineering expertise with NASA’s decades of airspace experience will be a crucial step ahead.



Under the Space Act Agreement, used by NASA to contract out the development of rockets in the late 1950s , will have Uber’s participation in the  development of unmanned traffic management systems and the low-altitude unmanned aerial systems that will be governed by it.


Uber has partnered with five manufacturers who are working on new types of vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) aircraft. Two NASA veterans, Mark Moore and Tom Prevot were hired by Uber to develop its vehicle design team and its air traffic management software program respectively.



Sanstone Properties having 20 sites across the greater LA area will be building ‘skyports’ which will provide the take off and drop-off points for flying taxis. Uber has signed a deal with Sanstone Properties.



Uber’s testing in the area was backed by Eric Garcetti who said that Los Angeles attracts innovators to build in new ideas and it is the perfect testing ground for the new technology.



Analysts at Gartner, Kimberly Harris-Ferrante and Michael Ramsay, said that though the flying autonomous vehicle technology is constantly developing however it will be more disruptive than transformative. The overhyped technology will be limited by high costs, safety concerns and regulatory burdens.

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