Uber and NASA to launch electric flying taxis 'by 2020'

Uber and NASA to launch electric flying taxis 'by 2020'

Blue sky thinking

UBER has done a deal with the US space agency to launch flying cars in cities around the world.

The taxi hire company will work with Nasa to create an air traffic control system to manage low-flying, possibly autonomous aircraft.

Jeff Holden, Uber’s chief product officer, said that electric flying taxis could be available on demand to customers in Los Angeles by 2020.

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Speaking at the Web Summit in Lisbon, Mr Holden said that he aimed to launch the service across Europe to help with congestion, adding that London would be “incredible because it has all the right characteristics”. Mr Holden said that Nasa was “exactly the kind of partners we need to make uberAIR a reality”.

David Dunn, a professor at Birmingham University, said: “There is a lot of blue sky thinking going on about how we can access the air in ways we haven’t done before. Technologically it is feasible but that is not to say that it is feasible in terms of opening up airspace. There are problems about how such transport will be policed, insured and registered.”

Uber will not build the body of the aircraft but will manage the network and is working with Nasa engineers to develop the software. It is in talks with five companies that could build vertical take-off and landing aircraft.

This article first appeared in The Times

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