Uber and NASA pen flying taxi probe pact

Uber’s vision from its white paper

As part of the pact, the ride-hailing company will share data related to its efforts to build flying taxis in 2020 for the development of NASA's urban air mobility (UAM) program. According to the announcement the company is working on launching "world's first urban aviation network".

San Francisco - Uber announced a partnership to study urban piloted aircraft in conjunction with the U.S. space agency Nasa, following a partnership in 2017 that focused on unpiloted drones.

The aim is to offer a solution to modern day congestion in urban areas, and Uber hopes to start demonstrations of the technology in 2020 before commercial trips begin in 2023.

The company's idea is that they'll carry four passengers, travel 150 to 200 miles per hour, and fly 1,000-2,000 feet above the ground.

Dallas and Los Angeles were previously announced as the first two launch cities, and now the firm is looking for an worldwide city as its third partner - these three cities will be the first to offer UberAIR flights.

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It added: "At the core, this is a partnership - Uber is seeking a city partner who is as excited about the aerial ridesharing future as we are and who is committed to overcoming obstacles, foreseen and unforeseen, in bringing uberAIR to market".

However, Uber stated that it will not venture directly in manufacturing the vehicles but will work with industry leaders to produce vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircrafts that will use the uberAIR network.

Urban aviation in Los Angeles is closer than you think, and Uber is showing us what it might look like.

Aircraft manufacturers Embraer and Pipistrel Aircraft released new concept images of aircraft they plan on building for the ambitious project, while California-based Karem unveiled a new vehicle. Last year, NASA collaborated with Uber on the same project.

One of the main focuses of the UAM project is the development of passenger-carrying aircraft capable of vertical takeoff and landing, the USA space agency pointed out. This would include funding and research development for a "first stacked co-rotating propeller". Another example is Virginia's Aurora Flight Sciences, which has been developing electric propulsion technologies for VTOL aircraft for years, including a battery system for DARPA's X-Plane. Moreover, being electric, it is more efficient too.

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