Uber expands partnership with NASA to develop flying taxis
Uber has signed a second Space Act Agreement with NASA to get help on its ambitious flying taxi project Elevate. The two entities will develop models that will simulate urban air mobility (UAM). Uber's first Space Act Agreement with NASA was signed last November and was a general statement of the upcoming collaboration between the two.
Under the agreement, Uber will provide NASA with data on its flying taxi service and the space agency will use that to simulate flights over Dallas, Texas. The simulations will deal with scenarios like air traffic, collision mitigation, and air space management. Notably, LA and Dallas are the two US cities where early tests of the air taxi service will be held.
Uber has also signed an agreement with the US Army to jointly develop and fund research regarding air taxis' key rotor technology. This will help Uber develop better aircraft keeping urban air mobility in mind. This will be conducted in the US Army's corporate research lab. Both entities will spend a combined total of $1 million on the research.
Notably, Uber's air-traffic control system will feature eco-friendly aero-mobiles. Uber advocates that flying cars will use three-dimensional airspace to alleviate road congestion, much like skyscrapers. It also promises its air taxis will avoid noise and environment pollution.
Uber's flying taxis, expected to be launched by 2023, is a mashup of a plane and a helicopter. It has four stacked rotors along the spine to provide lift and a fifth rotor on the tail to allow forward propulsion. These electrically powered aircraft will allegedly fly at an elevation of 1,000 to 2,000 feet. Uber also eventually aims to make them autonomous.