NASA, Uber are serious about bringing flying taxis to cities by 2023

NASA is working with Uber on its flying taxi project

NASA, Uber are serious about bringing flying taxis to cities by 2023

Uber will begin testing the concept in 2020 in Los Angeles, as well as in Dallas and Dubai, the company said Wednesday.

But some experts don't think Uber is being overly ambitious.

Those Jetsons-esque fantasies of commuting to work in a flying auto might not be as far off as you think.

Uber and NASA have signed a Space Act Agreement to formalize their partnership, Jeff Holden, Uber Technologies' chief product officer, said today at the Web Summit in Lisbon, Portugal. As far as the taxis themselves, Uber has partnered with five companies that are developing vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) vehicles.

Uber signed a deal with NASA Wednesday to help develop traffic systems for its flying vehicle project which it hopes to start testing in 2020.

"Just as skyscrapers allowed cities to use limited land more efficiently, urban air transportation will use three-dimensional airspace to alleviate transportation congestion on the ground", the latter wrote in a whitepaper.

For a company that has notoriously butted heads with regulatory agencies, Uber's cooperation with NASA shows its commitment to making its flying auto project, called Uber Elevate, a reality.

In interviews with the USA media overnight, including Bloomberg, Jeff Holden, Uber's chief product officer, confirmed the ride-hailing company had signed an agreement to work with NASA on "unmanned traffic management" systems.

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.

An Uber self-driving auto on the road in San Francisco on March 28, 2017.

LA will be the second USA city to get UberAIR after Dallas, which was announced as the first location for UberAIR at the company's Elevate Summit in April.

"We're allowing air taxis to move from the Hollywood movie sets to the L.A. skies", Holden said. Dubai is now slated to be the first location for launch outside of the US.

The plan for launching in LA is to rely on 20 strategically placed flight bases around the city, starting with LAX, Downtown, Sherman Oaks and Santa Monica.

Uber plans to launch UberAIR in LA in 2020.

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