Uber signed a deal with NASA Wednesday to help develop traffic systems for its flying vehicle project which it hopes to start testing in 2020.
Combining Uber's technological development with NASA's expertise in air space and simulation environments will "make this happen as fast as possible", Holden told Bloomberg.
The flying taxi project could drastically reduce trip times by avoiding traffic while remaining relatively affordable. Uber previously announced cities Dallas, Texas and Dubai as other partner cities. 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.
Rides will be ordered through an app, similar to the taxi sharing service now in operation.
The company's plans may cause some skepticism considering 2020 is only two years away.
And, unlike Uber's pricey helicopter service, the rides will be relatively affordable compared with other air travel options (Uber expects fares to be comparable to those of its on-the-ground ride-hailing options). Then, there's the lack of infrastructure fundamental for their support.
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The partnership, announced today at WebSummit in Lisbon, is not beyond Uber's personal ambitions either. "I think 2020 is realistic for a vehicle that is not replacing an airplane but replacing a auto", Richard Pat Anderson, director of the Flight Research Center at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, told Wired at the time.
But The Verge notes the type of flying vehicle Uber wants to use doesn't exist yet. That's down from about one hour and 20 minutes by auto, according to CNN.
"We are in the earliest stages of learning about this technology and how it might impact our communities, and look forward to continuing the discussion in the coming months and years", he said.
The company wants to have the fast and cheap service to be ready for commercial operations in L.A. ahead of the 2028 Olympics, according to CNBC.
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