Friday, 24 November, 2017

Uber's flying taxis may be ready for a ride by 2028

Uber plans to launch UberAIR in LA in 2020.                  Uber Uber plans to launch UberAIR in LA in 2020. Uber
Theresa Hayes | 08 November, 2017, 18:27

Uber's project for flying cars, known as Elevate, caused a whirlwind of attention when it was unveiled in late 2016.

The ride-sharing startup has said it plans to roll out an on-demand vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) network in Dallas and Dubai by 2020, and Wednesday added Los Angeles to the list.

Uber has faced regulatory and legal battles around the world since it launched taxi-hailing services earlier this decade, including in London where it is appealing against a decision to strip it of its licence due to safety concerns.

Earlier this year, it was revealed that the ride-hailing firm had hired 30-year NASA veteran Mark Moore as its director for aviation, where he would work on the company's flying vehicle initiative, dubbed Uber Elevate.

"It's an inspirational way to travel, too", said Holden.

That deal calls for Uber to be involved during phase 4 of this work, which is scheduled to begin in March 2019, NASA said. Uber's partnership is part of NASA's Space Act Agreement, a consortium of industry players working to ensure "safe and efficient operations" of its taxis and other small unmanned aerial systems flying at low altitudes. Phase 2 in 2016 considered long distance uses in sparsely populated regions, while Phase 3 in 2018 will test services over moderately populated areas, leading to Phase 4 testing in high-density urban areas in 2019.

Commuters of the future could get some relief from congested roads if Uber's plans for flying taxis work out. 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.

NASA did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the project.

Instead of tackling the building of actual aircraft, Uber will develop the technology that manages flying vehicles and navigates air traffic.

It has also partnered with NASA to trial new traffic control systems to manage the aircraft. The firm essentially wants to recreate its on-demand auto service, but for vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft.