Uber and NASA Want To Bring Flying Cars In Two Years
Flying cars have been a topic of discussion for Uber ever since September of last year when they announced their plans for bringing flying taxis to Dallas-Fort Worth and Dubai. Jeff Holden, Uber’s head of product, has said that part of their Elevate project, these plans have since been expanded to include Los Angeles as well.
Flying cars could become a great alternative for cities with a high degree of traffic jams. And LA, given the fact that it clocked in 104 hours of traffic jams in 2016, is no surprise that the city would be a candidate here. It’s for the same reason why Elon Musk used LA as the city where to use its tunnel boring machine.
But Uber’s approach to the situation is not from below but from above, in the form of flying cars. They’ve also revealed a video showcasing an aerial taxi taking daily commuters where they need to go, without actually adding to the traffic on the ground.
Holden also mentioned the fact that Uber has entered into the Space Act Agreement with NASA – who are looking to help them turn their flying-taxi scenario into reality. In this agreement, Uber’s job will be to develop a brand-new air traffic control system for these flying taxis.
“NASA is very focused on getting [uncrewed traffic management] adoption and pressure-testing the framework and make sure it works correctly,” Holden said in an interview, as reported by The Verge. “Uber is actually trying to put this new air traffic system into production.”
Uber has since said that this endeavour of theirs would require a well-put-together infrastructure that would be able to allow their vertical take-off and landing (VTOL). These flying cars would maybe be autonomous, so this infrastructure needs to be top notch.
What’s more, it seems that Uber has some competition when it comes to their vision of the future. Airbus also has some similar plans with their CityAirbus program – by developing a VTOL taxi – which is scheduled for a test flight in 2018. We also have the Volocopter – which successfully tested one of their designs in Dubai, back in September of this year. Dubai has recently commissioned an entire fleet of hoverbikes for their police force – so, seeing vehicles zipping around over our heads while we’ll be stuck in traffic.
“It’s been a really interesting process getting our vehicle manufacturing partners aligned on performance specifications, so that they’re building vehicles that align with what we need to make Elevate successful,” Holden said. “So lots of good progress there.”