Partnering with NASA, Uber to launch flying taxis by 2020

Partnering with NASA, Uber to launch flying taxis by 2020

Uber aims to begin testing four-passenger taxis flying at 200-miles-per hour in Los Angeles by 2020.

Uber planned to introduce flying taxi fleets in April which will be called as uberair.

"Technology will allow LA residents to literally fly over the city's historically bad traffic, giving them time back to use in far more productive ways".

And, unlike Uber's pricey helicopter service, the rides will be relatively affordable compared with other air travel options (Uber expects fares to be comparable to those of its on-the-ground ride-hailing options).

"Our target, and this is ambitious, but I think it's very achievable, is to make this less expensive than driving your own vehicle", Jeff Holden says.

You see, drones and other low-altitude "recreational aircraft" are now so prolific in the USA that NASA has been working with the Federal Aviation Authority to deliver a "Next Gen" air traffic control system. Somewhere, amongst all of this, Uber hopes its flying taxis will do their thing.

It is hoped that by 2020 the UberAir service will be running trials in Los Angeles, Dallas-Fort Worth, and Dubai. Uber is already collaborating with NASA on an existing project that could lead to a "next-generation air traffic control system", but the details and timeline of that project, as well as if state and federal officials will adopt the recommendations, are still big, open questions.

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Uber wants to "explore other collaboration opportunities with NASA" with a view to open "a new market of urban air mobility", it added.

"These are exactly the kind of partners we need to make uberAIR a reality", Holden said of NASA.

Jeff Holden, Uber's chief product officer, told NBC News the agreement with NASA is part of ensuing the program proceeds safely. It has previously announced it was partnering with private aerospace companies in pursuit of that goal.

Uber's partnership with NASA marks their first joint venture with a government entity, according to CNBC.

Separately, Uber announced an agreement with Sandstone Properties, a real estate developer with 20 buildings in Los Angeles, to develop its Skyports.

Earlier this week, driverless auto competitor Waymo - a project of Google's parent company Alphabet - announced that it has launched autonomous vehicles without backup humans on board, the first time that had been done.

The goal is to make transportation fast, and low-priced - and it hopes the service will be ready for commercial operations "several years ahead" of the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles.

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