The newly divulged reports indicate that Uber and NASA are launching flying cars in 2020. The ride-sharing company revealed on Wednesday that it would partner with NASA to launch its UberAir in Los Angeles. Apparently, this announcement comes only one year later than Blade Runner had envisioned.
Uber made this bold announcement at Web Summit in Lisbon, Portugal, saying the car-hailing firm has signed a Space Act Agreement with NASA. The two companies have also developed a plan which they will use to manage urban airspace.
Why Did Uber Choose NASA?
Uber opted to partner with NASA due to its extensive knowledge and expertise in this technological specialty. NASA will enable Uber to open up this new flying car market safely and efficiently. In a series of emails, Uber communicated that it has already hired a couple of agency veterans to develop the technology and support the effort.
As per the signed contract, Uber will work closely with the federal agency and other partners to craft flying vehicles at a low altitude, which is considered safe and viable. Uber said in a press release that this progress is part of its vision to allow customers to reach a flight speed around cities and beyond at the push of a button.
Los Angeles’s Historically Bad Traffic Triumphed
During the same presser, the company announced that it would start initiating tests by 2020. The airborne ride industry hopes to have completed prepping their flying cars in time for the 2028 Olympics in LA. Uber’s Chief Product Officer, one Jeff Holden, quoted that the new technology will enable Los Angeles residents to fly over lousy traffic that is frequent in the city. Eric Garcetti, LA mayor also praised the project saying it would be useful for LA residents.
Jeff Holden tossed off a few teaser videos for the flying car concept designs on stage in Lisbon. He claimed that these aerial vehicles would serve as a feasible alternative to helicopters. Uber argued that helicopters have a lot of downsides; they are too expensive, too dangerous, and too noisy. Also, the company claimed that copters are less environmentally friendly, especially in urban settings.
The Uber’s flying cars will have zero emissions and can still operate even if a single part of it malfunctions. At launch, UberAir will carry the same price tag as Uber X. Nonetheless, the company hinted that it would eventually cost cheaper than driving your private car. Uber’s Chief Product Officer was quoted as saying,”Uber would not even think of building a flying car if it wouldn’t suit everyone.” That means the new airborne vehicle will be as affordable as possible.
Order of Launch
During the Elevate Summit in April, Uber announced that it would first unveil its UberAir in Dallas followed by Los Angeles. Dubai becomes the first location for UberAir launch outside the United States. The company said it would launch its flying cars on 20 strategically positioned flight bases around Los Angeles, including LAX, Sherman Oaks, Downtown, and Santa Monica. The LA city will also host UberAir project partners in spring of 2018 during Uber’s next Elevate Conference.