Sci-tech

Uber plans to test a flying taxi service in LA

Uber plans to test a flying taxi service in LA

Ride-sharing startup Uber Technologies Inc. and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration have signed an agreement to develop new traffic concepts that will enable a network of flying cars to safely traverse US cities.

"At scale, we expect UberAIR will perform tens of thousands of flights each day across the city - at those levels, all the time savings will have a noticeable positive impact on the region's economy". Chief Product Officer Jeff Holden told Reuters his vision is to create a new ride-sharing in the sky industry of on-demand taxis ordered from your phone.

In just over two years, Uber says it will let commuters soar over Los Angeles' snarled traffic in flying taxis. While all ride hailing services are a bit expensive compared to public transport, Uber's air service is only expected to cost about the same as a ride with UberX.

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.

She joins three other passengers in a pilot-less electric plane featuring swiveling propellers that allow the craft to take off and land vertically.

Most notably, the aircraft and the supporting infrastructure envisioned by the company does not exist yet.

Uber contends its analysis estimates that an all-electric, 200 miles per hour ride across the skies of Los Angeles will be price-competitive with an uberX trip of the same distance.

Uber released a video showing how it's all supposed to work.

Los Angeles will be the company's third test city.

The ride-hailing company Uber says it has signed a deal with the USA space agency NASA to develop a fleet of flying vertical takeoff and landing taxis by the end of the decade.

LA Mayor Eric Carcetti said in a statement: "LA is the ideal testing ground for this new technology, and I look forward to seeing it grow in the coming years".

New CEO Dara Khosrowshahi has said that he wants to focus on the core business, which wouldn't seem to include managing flying cars.

Uber claims a trip from LAX to the Staples Centre - a 41 minute journey by road - will take under 30 minutes in one of its flying cabs.