Ride-sharing firm Uber has partnered the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and moved a step closer to make its dream project of making flying cars a reality.
The US global cab operator published details of its "on demand aviation" ambitions last year which it has called Uber Elevate. Uber’s chief product officer, Jeff Holden, made this announcement at Web Summit in Lisbon, Portugal and expressed its intention to start testing four-passenger, 200mph UberAir flying taxi services in 2020 across Los Angeles, US.
“We are bringing UberAir to Los Angeles in no small part because Mayor Garcetti has embraced technology and innovation, making LA a hub for the future,” Holden said. “In this case, 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, whether more leisure time with friends and family or more time to work.”
The California-based operator aims to produce vertical take-off and landing vehicles (VTOL) which will enable its low altitude flying cars to take off and land vertically. “Doing this safely and efficiently is going to require a foundational change in airspace management technologies,” Uber’s CPO said. “Combining Uber’s software engineering expertise with Nasa’s decades of airspace experience to tackle this is a crucial step forward.”
On the new Space Act Agreement with NASA, Holden said: “This Space Act Agreement paves the way forward for Uber to collaborate with Nasa on the development of next-generation airspace management technology."
The new service that is going to be called UberAir is the latest in a series of partnerships the ride-hailing giant has struck with the American Space agency.