Uber's Planned Flying Taxi Service Gets a Major Boost From NASA

Tuesday, 08 May 2018 - 8:30PM
Technology
NASA
Tuesday, 08 May 2018 - 8:30PM
Uber's Planned Flying Taxi Service Gets a Major Boost From NASA
< >
NASA/Advanced Concepts Laboratory
While Uber continues to find trouble on the ground while their self-driving car crash is being investigatedNASA seems to have some confidence in Uber's plans for flying taxis.

The space agency just announced today that they've signed an agreement with Uber Technologies to share plans for urban air mobility (UAM), which is a fancy way of saying "flying machines designed for cities." While an actual flying rideshare system from Uber is likely a long ways away, NASA will help them out with computer modeling and simulations to make sure Uber can create a safe "urban aviation rideshare network" where nobody gets hurt.

When/if the flying rideshare network ever comes to fruition, it would be known as Uber Elevate.



In an official statement from NASA, Jaiwon Shin from the space agency's Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate said the following:

Opening quote
"NASA is excited to be partnering with Uber and others in the community to identify the key challenges facing the UAM market, and explore necessary research, development and testing requirements to address those challenges. Urban air mobility could revolutionize the way people and cargo move in our cities and fundamentally change our lifestyle much like smart phones have."
Closing quote


In the same statement, Uber's chief product officer Jeff Holden returned the praise to NASA:

Opening quote
"The new space act agreement broadening Uber's partnership with NASA is exciting, because it allows us to combine Uber's massive-scale engineering expertise with NASA's decades of subject matter experience across multiple domains that are key to enabling urban air mobility, starting with airspace systems."
Closing quote


Passenger-sized drones specializing in vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) are becoming a more common goal for different tech companies around the world, with everyone form Airbus to the city of Dubai hard at work with building prototypes. If NASA is getting involved, it means Uber is far enough with their model that the space agency needs to step in to make sure it meets safety and noise standards.

If all goes well, Uber thinks they can have a working demonstration by 2020 and full implementation with the Uber app by 2023. Which means you could be picking up a flying drone to carry you around the city in several years.

It remains to be seen how that will all pan out. 

Science
Science News
Technology
NASA
No