Uber partners with NASA to develop flying taxis by 2020
The plan calls for Uber to begin testing flying taxi services across the Dallas Fort Worth area and then in Los Angeles by 2020.
The flying taxi project could drastically reduce trip times by avoiding traffic while remaining relatively low-cost.
Uber unveiled today an agreement with NASA that advances the company's plan to bring flying vehicles to major U.S. cities.
Today at the Web Summit in Lisbon, Portugal, Jeff Holden, Uber's head of product, announced updates to the ride-hailing company's Elevate project.
"UberAir will be performing far more flights over cities on a daily basis than has ever been done before. Like literally pushing a button and getting a flight becomes cheaper than driving your own vehicle, seriously", said Jeff Holden the Chief Product Officer for Uber. It hopes to use vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) aircraft to fundamentally change how people move around cities, as are a growing contingent of forward-thinking aviation companies working on similar projects. Uber hopes that the flying taxis will eventually become a form of mass transport, and cost commuters less than using their own vehicle, though initially it will be more expensive than that, Uber's chief product officer Jeff Holden said.
The first demonstration flights are expected in 2020, moving into commercial operations by 2023 - in plenty of time for the 2028 Olympic Games in Los Angeles.
Uber also announced that it signed an agreement with Sandstone Properties in LA to develop its Skyport take-off and landing terminals atop buildings, according to USA Today. Uber's deal with the Dubai Road and Transport Authority will see the officials fund studies for "demand modelling" to analyse the kind of prices and networks that will be needed in Dubai. After all, a flying vehicle isn't going anywhere without customers, who then need air driving training, perhaps, and an infrastructure that supports a brand new mode of transport-not to mention government approval and rules of the road, err, I mean sky?