Uber to launch an aeroplane taxi service in Los Angeles by 2020

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

The company also announced that it signed a deal with Sandstone Properties - which has 20 sites across the greater Los Angeles area - to build "skyports" to serve as takeoff and drop-off points for flying taxis.

"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.

Uber wants to see widespread use of electric, on-demand air taxis - part-drone, part fixed-wing aircraft - which could be ordered via a smartphone app in the same way as its road-based taxis.

Uber's marketing video concludes with the line that flying cars are "closer than you think".

It would work with the space agency to develop software for managing flying taxi routes, Uber's chief product officer Jeff Holden announced at the Web Summit in Lisbon.

Uber said on Wednesday it was the first formal services contract by the U.S. National Aeronautical and Space Administration, NASA, covering low-altitude airspace rather than outer space.




Not factoring in pick up times, the flight across LA could take as little as four minutes, Uber said.

It is also working with developers to build rooftop landing pads and will also offer stops at sports arenas, the global airport and coastal suburbs of LA. "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.

The scheme still faces plenty of challenges, including certification of the new vehicle by authorities, pilot training and the creation of new air traffic management systems.

Uber's work with NASA will help solve the problem of operating hundreds or thousands of aircraft over cities and allow uberAIR services to work alongside existing air traffic control systems around busy airports, Reuters said.

Previously, Nasa has said that it was working with a variety of companies to develop urban air mobility.

"High costs, safety concerns and regulatory burdens are likely to limit the use of this overhyped technology".

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