Wednesday, 22 November, 2017

Uber working with NASA to make flying taxis a reality

Uber flying car VTOL This is how Uber envisages its flying cars. Uber
Heather Davidson | 09 November, 2017, 01:26

Travellers will request their ride, just as they would a auto. The user open the Uber app, but instead of choosing the options that have been around for years-UberPOOL, UberX-they go straight for UberAIR, because it's nearly dinner time and they're still far away from their home city.

A man hails an Uber in London.

Rides will be ordered through an app, similar to the taxi sharing service now in operation.

On Wednesday, the ride-sharing service said Los Angeles will be the third city in its pilot program, which already includes Dallas-Fort Worth and Dubai.

On stage in Lisbon, Uber's Chief Product Officer Jeff Holden showed off the first teaser video for one of Uber's flying vehicle concept designs.

Uber contends its analysis estimates that an all-electric, 200 miles per hour ride across the skies of Los Angeles will be price-competitive with an uberX trip of the same distance. But on Wednesday, the company said it's now adding Los Angeles to its initial trial cities.

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The company's plans may cause some skepticism considering 2020 is only two years away.

And Uber still needs to get approval from regulatory agencies, like the Federal Aviation Administration.

For Los Angeles - one of the world's most congested cities - it also makes a world of sense, especially in light of the city's hosting of the 2028 Olympic Games. Uber doesn't think so. Instead the fleet of electric jet-powered vehicles will be developed by existing aircraft manufacturers, including Aurora Flight Services.

And it seems that Uber has been making the moves to ensure it will happen. It said it would work with Pipistrel Aircraft and a variety of other companies who would build vertical take-off and landing aircraft.

NASA has said previously it is working with a variety of companies to develop technologies for what it calls "urban air mobility".

If it all works, the payoff would be a new supply or revenue for the company, and hopefully less stressful rush-hour commutes for consumers. By contrast, that same trip takes around 1 hour and 20 minutes by vehicle. There's also Volocopter, which successfully tested a flying auto in Dubai back in September of this year.

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