Tech | November 9, 2017 5:00 am

Uber and NASA Are Partnering on a Flying Taxi Project

Move over, self-driving cars, flying cars are the thing of the future.

(C.J. Burton/Creative RM)
(C.J. Burton/Creative RM)

Though the world is probably still adjusting to the idea of self-driving cars zooming around the city, NASA and Uber are taking it one step further: flying cars. The two signed a deal to develop traffic systems for its flying car project, which Uber hopes to start testing in 2020, according to CNBC

The project, called Uber Elevate, will allow cars to take off and land vertically and will fly at a low altitude. The ride-hailing service announced at the Web Summit tech conference in Lisbon that it signed a Space Act Agreement with NASA. This agreement is for the development of “unmanned traffic management.” NASA is currently working on figuring out how unmanned aerial systems (UAS) can operate safely, according to CNBC. 

This is Uber and NASA’s first partnership and Uber’s first partnership with a U.S. federal government agency. NASA has worked with other companies to develop traffic management for other low altitude vehicles, like drones.

In a statement on Wednesday, Jeff Holden, chief product officer at Uber, said, “UberAir will be performing far more flights on a daily basis than it has ever been done before. Doing this safely and efficiently is going to require a foundational change in airspace management technologies,” according to CNBC. 

He also called the partnership with NASA a “crucial step.”

Uber is also working with authorities in Dallas-Fort Worth and Dubai to bring flying taxis to those cities. The start-up has also signed partnerships with aircraft manufacturers and real estate companies to decide where the take-off and landing sites could be, CNBC reports.

The trial would take place in Los Angeles in 2020, along with the other already announced cities. According to CNBC, the company says the price for a journey in a flying car would be competitive if done using UberX. The ultimate goal is to get this flying car in the air and zooming before the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles.