NASA and Uber Are Working Together to Bring Us Flying Cars


The company predicted that a one-and-a-half hour vehicle journey from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) to the Lakers' home court Staples Centre could take less than 30 minutes using a combination of flying cars and regular cars.

While the ride-hailing service and the US space agency may seem like an odd couple, the relationship is necessary in order to keep everything running smoothly when Uber ultimately takes to the skies.

"We are very much embracing the regulatory bodies and starting very early in discussions about this and getting everyone aligned with the vision", Mr Holden said. So it's encouraging to hear that Uber is going to connect its obvious business strengths with NASA's effort to create a framework for managing and overseeing traffic of low altitude flyers.

But an UberAir ride above clogged highways would take just 27 minutes - at a price that's competitive with the same journey using UberX. The plan was to bring this service to Dallas - Fort Worth and Dubai.

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During the Web Summit tech conference in Lisbon, Portugal, Uber confirmed that they had signed a Space Act Agreement with NASA to develop "unmanned traffic management". Uber is securing the various resources to make the project happen and these include; partnerships with aircraft manufacturers for vehicles, and real estate companies for VTOL sites, and with the likes of NASA for navigation and traffic planning. Dallas-Fort Worth wants to be the first metropolitan area in the United States to explore a flying auto pilot and Uber has already partnered with Hillwood Properties in the region.

Uber will also rely on outside companies to develop a fleet of aircraft capable of meeting the demands of the taxi service. The first flight demonstrations are set for 2020 with the service commercially available by 2023, ahead of the 2028 Olympics planned for Los Angeles.

"UberAir will be performing far more flights on a daily basis than it has ever been done before", Jeff Holden, chief product officer at Uber, said in a statement.

To hack it aloft, Uber is teaming up with the space agency on a range of projects to prevent catastrophic mid-air above dense urban areas. "Like literally pushing a button and getting a flight becomes cheaper than driving your own vehicle, seriously", said Jeff Holden the Chief Product Officer for Uber.