Uber and NASA have teamed up in an effort to bring “the future of on-demand, urban air transportation” to clear skies everywhere. The ridesharing tech company announced back in April that it would begin development of a new fleet of flying taxis as a part of its Uber Elevate initiative.
With NASA behind it to help manage and develop air traffic systems, Uber hopes to demo the first set of its autonomous flight vehicles in Los Angeles by 2020. The flights will allegedly hold as many as four passengers at a time, with the potential to fly commuters from California’s Bay Area to San Jose in as little as fifteen minutes. Not only would commuters save on the hundreds of hours spent commuting to and from work every year, but the Uber Elevate Team hopes it could also contribute to cleaner air by significantly reducing emissions.
The company’s whitepaper points out that high commute times lead not just to less time enjoying the things we love most, but also often result in increased stress levels and more money spent on fuel. It states, “On-demand aviation, has the potential to radically improve urban mobility, giving people back time lost in their daily commutes. Uber is close to the commute pain that citizens in cities around the world feel.”
The partnership comes as a part of NASA’s Space Act Agreement, working with industry leaders to ensure the safety and proficiency of small unmanned inflight systems operating at lower altitudes, as well as its uncrewed traffic management project (UTM) aimed at monitoring air traffic for drones. To read more about it, click here.