Uber and NASA pen flying taxi probe pact

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Dr. Jaret Riddick, director of the service branch's Research Laboratory's Vehicle Technology Directorate, explained to the Army Research Lab, "This agreement with Uber displays the Army utilizing innovative approaches to collaborate with an industry partner that is truly on the cutting edge ..."

"Urban air mobility could revolutionize the way people and cargo move in our cities and fundamentally change our lifestyle much like smart phones have", said Jaiwon Shin, associate administrator for NASA's Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate, in a statement.

On Tuesday, Uber and NASA announced their partnership on the flying taxi project.

The on-demand electric aircraft taxi service, it said, will be hailed using the Uber app in a bid to replace cars with aerial transportation as a quicker and more environmentally friendly way to travel in densely populated urban areas.

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The announcement of Nasa-Uber agreement came as the Uber Elevate summit in Los Angeles brings together tech and transportation Superemos to talk about the future of urban aviation.

Elevate, also the name of Uber's flying taxi business, wants to let passengers hail a flying auto via app and hop from one rooftop sky port to another. At the time though, NASA was assigned to come up with air traffic management for a fleet of flying vehicles. The prototype presented by Uber has sitting space for four people.

When/if the flying rideshare network ever comes to fruition, it would be known as Uber Elevate.

Dallas-based Hillwood will build a vertiport for UberAir at its new mixed-use development Frisco Station near Dallas, which will be used to test the prototypes.

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Uber has set a goal of testing these electric flying vehicles by 2020 and a commercial launch in 2023. NASA will take control of all operational and safety issues related to the implementation of the idea.

The ride-sharing service has unveiled a new air taxi that could help passengers avoid the roads altogether.

It's encouraging cities to make the case why they are best for Uber Elevate, asking them to get in touch by July 1.

Uber operations director Jeff Holen says the obstacles to the new transport mode are mostly around regulations of air space, adding, "The technology exists. we can solve this today".

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