Uber and Nasa working to pilot flying taxis by 2020

Uber and Nasa working to pilot flying taxis by 2020

Uber said that the project will cover low-altitude airspace as opposed to outer space, and it's been issued with a formal services contract by NASA. In addition to NASA, it's contracting with Bell Helicopters, Embraer, and Aurora Flight Sciences to develop the vehicle itself, and electric auto charging infrastructure ChargePoint to develop charging stations.

It has also been reported that they're working with officials in Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas, and Dubai to bring flying taxis to those cities.

As for pricing, Uber claims hailing a flying cab won't cost any more than hailing a grounded one.

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The vehicle is meant to soar over traffic congestion, sharply reducing city travel times.

UberAir differs from UberChopper, a helicopter service the company has in the past offered during events such as the Coachella music festival, or during summertime for trips between New York City and the Hamptons.

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.

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A movie previewing the air service shows that it will function much like Uber's current app, through which users can order a taxi on-demand with payments automatically deducted from stored card details. About this informed the General Manager of Uber for the company's products Jeff Holden. "We are now a major company on the world stage and you can't do things the same way where you are a large-scale, global company that you can do when you are a small, scrappy startup". The get-your-own-ride company signed a NASA Space Act Agreement so it can make the air traffic control system that will be monitoring the low-flying electric pods, which look more like micro-planes than the cars with wings often imagined in science fiction.

The NASA deal is the latest in a series of partnerships Uber has struck to get UberAir - which is what the new service is called - off the ground.

The flying taxi takes the woman back to another "roof airport", where an Uber vehicle taxi is waiting for her.

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Uber on Wednesday unveiled a partnership with NASA that will see it develop flying taxis priced competitively with standard Uber journeys. A Reuters report related to the story says the company plans to launch paid intra-city taxis by 2023.

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