Uber poised to work with NASA over flying taxis

NASA is working with Uber on its flying taxi project

Uber previously unveiled its plans to introduce flying taxi fleets, known as uberAIR, in April.

They anticipate that travelling by flying auto will cost app-users as much as if they were to take the trip with Uber X, the company's luxury option.

An UberAir journey between Los Angeles' airport and the Staples Center arena, for example, would take 27 minutes - three times less time than the same journey by vehicle.

You see, drones and other low-altitude "recreational aircraft" are now so prolific in the United States that NASA has been working with the Federal Aviation Authority to deliver a "Next Gen" air traffic control system.

Uber has faced regulatory and legal battles around the world since it launched taxi-hailing services earlier this decade, including in London where it is appealing against a decision to strip it of its license due to safety concerns.

The first partner cities announced at Elevate were Dallas-Fort Worth and Dubai.

Meanwhile, NASA is already deep into its work developing driverless air traffic management systems.

Uber said today it's intending LA to be its second U.S. trial location, having previously named Dallas as a test city.

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This is the start-up's first partnership with a USA federal government agency.

To be fair, Uber has recruited an impressive array of partners for its flying vehicle project.

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. They will fly at a low altitude.

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

Separately, Uber announced an agreement with Sandstone Properties, a real estate developer with 20 buildings in Los Angeles, to develop its Skyports.

Uber's plan is to string together a network of electrical vertical take-off and landing vehicles, commonly called eVTOL, and make them available on-demand.

As if this endorsement by the renowned space agency wasn't enough, Uber has also been hiring ex-NASA veterans to help actually develop the aircraft it plans to take to market.

At a web conference in Portugal, Uber's Chief Product Officer Jeff Holden revealed what the machines will look like, how they'll work and how much a ride will cost.

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