The American space agency NASA has hired Uber to help develop software for flying taxis. The first official tests are planned for the year 2020.
The transportation technology company Uber already has plans for airborne taxis and is preparing for testing. This is the first contract that the ride-sharing company has signed with the American space administration. NASA has signed similar joint contracts in the past - among these one for developing its space shuttles back in the 50s of the last century.
The first of its kind 4-passanger taxi is expected to take to the air in 2020, with a top speed of 200 mi (322 km) per hour.
To ensure public safety, the company will be conducting its tests in the outskirts of Los Angeles. If everything goes according to plan, Uber intends to expand its flying taxi services to connect various major urban areas. To do this, Uber will be working with air traffic controllers in the US and Europe.
To fully realize this ambitious project, Uber will also need to obtain a license for this kind of operation. Its contract with NASA is the first step in legalizing the UberAIR service.
In recent years, Uber has had serious problems. Ground taxi regulators have 1 by 1 been prohibiting the company from continuing its practice. One of the last cities to take away Uber's license was London. The reason, they say, is concerns over customer safety. This has also led the company to seek new fields of operation, such as electric cars and flying taxis.
Users will be able to call for a flying taxi via a smartphone app. They are planned as an alternative to conventional taxi cab services. Uber will also need to obtain vehicles capable of vertical liftoff and landing, which will be no easy to task.