NASA is working with Uber on flying taxis

NASA is working with Uber on its flying taxi project

The ride-hailing company announced Wednesday it wants to bring airborne taxi service to the city by 2020. "I think 2020 is realistic for a vehicle that is not replacing an airplane but replacing a auto", Richard Pat Anderson, director of the Flight Research Center at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, told Wired at the time.

In an unlikely partnership, NASA has sought the services of Uber to build air control software that will manage the flying taxis of the future.

Los Angeles will be the company's third test city. "There is a reality that Uber has grown up a lot as a company", Holden said in an interview ahead of his speech.

"UberAir will be performing far more flights on a daily basis than it has ever been done before".

Uber will also rely on outside companies to develop a fleet of aircraft capable of meeting the demands of the taxi service.

He said: "Los Angeles has always been a place where innovators come to build new ideas that can change how we live our lives".

Designs for the aircraft - which differ from helicopters in appearance, technical features, efficiency and fuel consumption - are yet to be finalized. "We are very much embracing the regulatory bodies and starting very early in discussions about this and getting everyone aligned with the vision", he said of Uber's plans to introduce what he called "ride-sharing in the sky". At the Web Summit, a technology conference, in Lisbon this week, Uber announced that they signed a Space Act Agreement with the governmental agency to determine how unmanned aerial systems can fly at low levels safely, reports CNBC.

Certification from the Federal Aviation Administration for commercial aircraft can include two years of rigorous testing.

The vehicles look a bit like the V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor planes that can take off vertically, then tilt the rotors forward for speedy horizontal flight.

Harris said he could see a commercial electric aircraft service launch within the next 10 years.

According to Kimberly Harris-Ferrante and Michael Ramsey, analysts at Gartner: "Flying autonomous vehicle technology is developing rapidly, but it's likely to be more disruptive than transformational".

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