Ride-sharing — or should we say fly-sharing — vehicles could zoom through the skies of Los Angeles as soon as 2020.
Uber unveiled today an agreement with NASA that advances the company’s plan to bring flying vehicles to major US cities. The agreement with the space agency aims to develop traffic management systems for unmanned aerial vehicles. It was signed on Jan. 26 and allocates funds up to $100,162 over five years.
Speaking at the Web Summit in Lisbon, Portugal, Uber chief product officer Jeff Holden said the vehicles could carry four passengers and fly at a top speed of 200 mph.
“We are very much embracing the regulatory bodies and starting very early in discussions about this and getting everyone aligned with the vision,” Holden said, according to Reuters.
The company also announced that Los Angeles would be the third city, following Dallas-Fort Worth and Dubai, in which the service would be tested.
LA Mayor Eric Carcetti said in a statement: “LA is the perfect testing ground for this new technology, and I look forward to seeing it grow in the coming years.”
Uber joins several other companies that are working with NASA to develop methods for managing fleets of aerial vehicles.
The agreement funds phase 4 of work, which involves testing the service over high-density urban areas in March 2019. Previous phases tested unmanned aerial vehicle services over light- and moderately-populated areas.
"On-demand aviation,” the company said in an October 2016 white paper on its flying-taxi service, “has the potential to radically improve urban mobility, giving people back time lost in their daily commutes."