Uber gets NASA deal to develop flying taxi management system

Lena Tucker
November 9, 2017

Uber will work with the United States space agency to develop software for managing flying taxi routes, Uber's chief product officer Jeff Holden told the Web Summit in Lisbon, Portugal on Wednesday night (AEST). The user open the Uber app, but instead of choosing the options that have been around for years-UberPOOL, UberX-they go straight for UberAIR, because it's nearly dinner time and they're still far away from their home city. Because if you're going to have people flying to work, you're gonna need some stoplights in the sky or something. Uber's partnership is part of NASA's Space Act Agreement, a consortium of industry players working to ensure "safe and efficient operations" of its taxis and other small unmanned aerial systems flying at low altitudes.

A man hails an Uber in London.

Flying cars in Los Angeles won't just be something dreamed up by Hollywood movie studios if Uber has its way.

The four-person flights won't become a reality anytime soon, but the company plans to demonstrate the technology in Los Angeles, Dallas and Dubai in 2020. UberAir would effectively bring Uber's existing ride-hailing model to the sky.

On stage in Lisbon, Uber's Chief Product Officer Jeff Holden showed off the first teaser video for one of Uber's flying auto concept designs. Uber also enlisted the help of a former NASA engineer back in February to design their flying taxi system.

Alex Comisar, Garcetti's press secretary, said discussions with the company operating the technology in the city are in the preliminary stages. The company still needs approval from the Federal Aviation Administration and other regulatory agencies. "Our target, and this is ambitious but I think it's very achievable, is to make this less expensive than driving your own auto", Holden said.

And it seems that Uber has been making the moves to ensure it will happen.

Flying cars may be closer than we think as Uber has announced a contract from NASA to develop software to coordinate and monitor air traffic during the 2017 Web Summit in Lisbon. By contrast, that same trip takes around 1 hour and 20 minutes by vehicle.

No word on whether Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is under consideration as a name for the flying cars.

Other reports by AllAboutTopnews

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