Published: Wed, May 09, 2018
Technology | By Russell Knight

Uber plans to start testing flying taxis as early as 2020

Uber plans to start testing flying taxis as early as 2020

NASA and Uber have signed an agreement to ensure safe development of flying taxis in urban environments. The flying cars will be piloted by humans at first, though the company is looking to eventually deploy autonomous aircraft as well.

On the heels of its unveiling of a flying taxi concept at the Uber Elevate Summit in Los Angeles this morning, Uber has announced that it has partnered with the US Army Research, Development and Engineering Command (RDECOM) Research Lab to develop and test electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) vehicles.

"On-demand aviation, has the potential to radically improve urban mobility, giving people back time lost in their daily commutes".

LOS ANGELES, USA - It's not a bird, nor a plane. Uber must stop self-driving auto service in SF until it gets permitThe flying taxis would use helicopter-style rotors for takeoff and landing, but use fixed wings over longer distances.

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Eric Allison, who heads Uber's Aviation programs, said the flying vehicles are part of an overall strategy allowing people to do without personal cars.

Its the first agreement with NASA specifically focused on modeling and simulating UAM operations.

Uber Technologies Inc said on Tuesday it would work with the U.S. Army to advance research on a novel, quiet aircraft rotor technology that could be used in future flying cars, or military aircraft. This will enable them to analyse simulations to identify any possible safety issues.

But details of the project were overshadowed, as a report revealed that one of Uber's self-driving test auto which killed a woman crossing the street had detected her but decided not to react immediately.

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Uber envisages its air taxis picking up passengers at skyports on top of buildings or stations on the ground. Uber Chief Executive Officer Dara Khosrowshahi is scheduled to speak at the Elevate conference tomorrow.

NASA joined the program a year later by developing air traffic management for a flying auto fleet.

The concept aircraft uses eight rotors to provide vertical lift, until the point it transitions to horizontal flight when lift is maintained by a short wing and a pusher propeller provides forward momentum. Current and ongoing research into low altitude airpsace management of unmanned systems, electric aircraft and VTOL capabilities will be leveraged to achieve this goal.

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