Uber to launch flying taxis by 2020

Uber has struck a deal with NASA to develop software for 'flying taxi' routes in the air by 2020

Uber to launch flying taxis by 2020

UberAir would effectively bring Uber's existing ride-hailing model to the sky.

It hopes the futuristic aircraft will be ready for demonstration flights by 2020.

Uber will work with the USA space agency to develop software for managing flying taxi routes, Uber's chief product officer Jeff Holden told the Web Summit in Lisbon, Portugal on Wednesday night (AEST).

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

Uber however won't be constructing said aircraft.

Uber also announced it has signed an agreement with Sandstone Properties to develop skyport infrastructure to serve as takeoff and landing hubs for uberAIR flights at Sandstone's 20 locations in the greater L.A. area.

By the 2028 Olympics, Holden said, the company believes Angelenos will be making "heavy use" of UberAir.

"UberAir will be performing far more flights on a daily basis than has ever been done before". Proposed take-off and landing zones equipped with aircraft charging stations have not yet been built. "We are very much embracing the regulatory bodies and starting very early in discussions about this and getting everyone aligned with the vision", he said of Uber's plans to introduce what he called "ride-sharing in the sky". And it said earlier this year it teamed up with multiple companies - ranging from aircraft manufacturers to a company that makes electric vehicle chargers - to get the project going.

In interviews with the USA media overnight, including Bloomberg, Jeff Holden, Uber's chief product officer, confirmed the ride-hailing company had signed an agreement to work with NASA on "unmanned traffic management" systems.

The ride sharing company is working with aviation regulators in the United States and Europe to win approvals toward that end, Holden told Reuters. And then the company will need to win over consumers, Harris said. "But for some autonomous experiments, it's going to take awhile for consumers to be comfortable being in an air taxi without a pilot". The aerial vehicles will serve as an alternative to helicopters, which Uber says are too noisy, too risky, too expensive and not environmentally friendly enough to fly in urban environments.

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