Uber announced at Web Summit, a technology conference in Lisbon, that it has partnered with NASA to help develop an air traffic management system for a flying taxi initiative.
The transportation company revealed its plan to introduce fleets of flying taxis, known as uberAIR, back in April, 2017.
Although such flights will not be a reality in the short term, Uber says there are plans to carry out demonstrations of the flying car network in Los Angeles, as well as Dallas and Dubai.
The technology firm has agreements to work with other aviation companies, but this is the first time it has partnered with a federal agency in the United States. The Uber alliance is part of the NASA space law agreement, a consortium of industries that are working to ensure “safe and efficient operations” of their taxis and other small unmanned and low flying aerial systems.
Known for its unmanageable traffic, Los Angeles will be an ideal test bed for flying vehicles and it is estimated to begin trial flights by 2020.
Uber estimates travel time from Los Angeles airport to the Staples Center downtown during peak hours would take less than 30 minutes – significantly less than an hour and 20 minutes it now takes by car. It is expected trips in flying taxis will be offered for a price comparable to its UberX service.
The goal is to make transportation fast and cheap, with Uber planning to be ready for commercial operations well in advance of the 2028 Olympic Games in Los Angeles.