Uber has played a big part in revolutionising urban mobility, allowing travellers to make easy connections from A to B. But the company has even bigger plans: flying taxis.
Last week, Uber signed an agreement with NASA to explore ideas and technologies related to urban air mobility (UAM). This concept is defined by NASA as “a safe and efficient air transportation system where everything from small package delivery drones to passenger-carrying air taxis operate over populated areas, from small towns to the largest cities.”
Under the new agreement, Uber will share its plans for implementing an urban aviation ride-hailing network.
“Using data from Uber, NASA will use its research facility at the Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) airport to simulate a small passenger carrying aircraft as it flies through DFW airspace during peak scheduled air traffic, and analyse if these operations would trigger traffic collision advisories,” Uber said in a statement.
This is NASA’s first such agreement specifically focused on modelling and simulation for urban air mobility operations, the space agency said.
“NASA is excited to be partnering with Uber and others in the community to identify the key challenges facing the UAM market, and explore necessary research, development and testing requirements to address those challenges,” commented Jaiwon Shin, associate administrator for NASA’s Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate. “Urban air mobility could revolutionise the way people and cargo move in our cities and fundamentally, change our lifestyle, much like smartphones have.”
The latest agreement comes after Uber announced in November that it had signed a contract with NASA to develop software that could be used to manage a flying taxi service.