Flying cars get Uber boost from research pact with NASA


As highlighted in a segment on CBS This Morning, Uber's prototype looks a lot like the concept sketches the company shared publicly previous year.

Under this agreement, Uber will share its plans for implementing an urban aviation rideshare network.

Elevate, Uber's light-aircraft ridesharing project, has partnered with government and private industry groups to help develop the service, USA Today reports.

Uber, which plans to launch flying taxis within two years, has released photos of flying taxi design models it will show at Tuesday's Uber Elevate Summit in Los Angeles. Analysis of these simulations will identify safety issues as these new aircraft take to the air in an already crowded air traffic control system.

"Urban air mobility could revolutionize the way people and cargo move in our cities and fundamentally change our lifestyle much like smart phones have", Jaiwon Shin, who is with NASA's Aeronautics Research mission Directorate, said in a statement.

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"It's actually going to be significantly easier we think, because a lot of the problems that you deal with on the road such as complicated street signs, such as other cars that may not be necessarily cooperative ー we're going to build the system to be autonomous for the future vision from the outset", said Nikhil Goel, head of product and advanced programs at Uber.

Uber wants to start testing its air transportation service, Uber Elevate, by 2020 in Los Angeles, Dallas, and Dubai. Like previous ideas, the new concept is an electric aircraft capable of vertical take-off and landing (e-VTOL). As with all federal-funded research, NASA will make this research available to the broader UAM community. The company said that the skyports could handle 200 takeoffs and landings an hour in the vehicles, that will be piloted at first, CNBC reported.

Dallas-Fort Worth and Los Angeles are the first USA metropolitan areas scheduled to have the vehicles lifting off from area skyports, perhaps as early as 2020.

Uber finds a quieter aircraft is desirable because its eVTOL designs and upcoming Uber Air service are meant to be used in urban areas where noise pollution is a factor.