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Uber Teams up With U.S. Army & NASA to Develop Flying Taxis

At its annual Elevate summit in Los Angeles Uber announces its aviation goals to launch electric flying taxis within the next five years in partnership with U.S. Army and NASA.

The pair signed an agreement which will see them explore concepts and technologies needed for passenger and cargo air transportation within an urban area. This is Uber’s second agreement with the space agency.

Uber's partnership with the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command (RDECOM), within the Army Research Lab, is focused on researching the tech needed to propel the company's electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft.

UberAir eVTOL Concept.

UberAir wants to fly its vehicles up to 2,000 feet at 150 mph for short-haul flights, going as far as 60 miles on a battery charge.

The service plans to fly demos of its four-passenger seat planes in Los Angeles and the Dallas area by 2020, ready for commercial use by 2023.

Although the air taxi will initially be piloted, flights will eventually become autonomous.

On the NASA side, the data collected by Uber will use at NASA's research facility at the Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) airport to simulate a small passenger-carrying aircraft as it flies through DFW airspace during peak scheduled air traffic, and analyze if these operations would trigger traffic collision advisories,’ Uber said in a statement.

Previously, Uber had an agreement with NASA to research pilotless vehicle traffic management at low altitudes.

Uber is moving way beyond cities, roads, and public transit, getting deep into aeronautical institutions, and possibly into defense contracting. But for now, its nascent aviation team is trying to establish itself as legit. Partnerships with the likes of NASA and U.S. Army sure help on that front.
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