Friday, 17 November, 2017

Nasa Contracts Uber to Develop Software for Flying Cars

UberAIR will cost the same as Uber X at launch                  Uber UberAIR will cost the same as Uber X at launch Uber
Carlton Santiago | 09 November, 2017, 00:55

Uber's Chief Product Officer Jeff Holden says he hopes the service will reduce commute times, cut vehicle pollution in major cities and, eventually, the service will be cheaper than if a person were to drive their own auto.

Chief Product Officer Jeff Holden plans to announce at the Web Summit conference in Lisbon that Los Angeles will join Dallas as the first two cities to host Uber's proposed network of flying vehicles.

Eric Garcetti, mayor of LA, said the city is the "perfect" place to test the new service.

Uber dominates the streets and the company hopes to tackle the sky with flying taxis tested by 2020-and they signed a partnership with NASA to do so.

Uber previously unveiled its plans to introduce flying taxi fleets, known as uberAIR, in April. He added that the company had signed a Space Act Agreement with NASA that will see the creation of an air traffic control system to manage the electric vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) craft.

The ride sharing company is working with aviation regulators in the United States and Europe to win approvals toward that end, Holden told Reuters.

But some experts don't think Uber is being overly ambitious.

The goal is to make transportation fast, and affordable - and it hopes the service will be ready for commercial operations "several years ahead" of the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles.

The ride-hailing firm announced November 8 that L.A. will be one of the first cities served by UberAir, which it says will begin ferrying passengers across the region in electric aircraft in 2020.

"These are exactly the kind of partners we need to make uberAIR a reality", Holden said of NASA.

Now, the contract with NASA will help figure out how various aircraft, including drones, and possibly flying taxis, can coexist safely over urban areas. Uber predicts that a trip from LAX to the Staples Center will take about 30 minutes. Earlier this year, Uber hired Nasa veterans Mark Moore and Tom Prevot to run, respectively, its aircraft vehicle design team and its air traffic management software programme. It was finding someone who could develop a business case to build a whole ecosystem supporting flying cars and make the expense of developing the technology worthwhile.

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