Uber's Make Agreements with NASA for Future Flying Taxis

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The ride hailing company unveiled its first flying vehicle prototypes Tuesday at its annual Uber Elevate Summit.

Under this agreement, Uber will share its plans for implementing an urban aviation rideshare network.

Urban air mobility is defined as a safe and efficient system for passenger and cargo air transportation within an urban area (operations over populated areas).

The taxis will take off from rooftop sky ports when requested by passengers and are meant for longer distance travel than would be reasonable in ground transportation.

But in an interview Tuesday with Cheddar, Goel said the company was proceeding with caution, especially as Uber addresses issues with its ground-level autonomous driving technology. It'll take only five minutes to recharge the battery, Uber said.

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"It's actually going to be significantly easier we think, because a lot of the problems that you deal with on the road such as complicated street signs, such as other cars that may not be necessarily cooperative ー we're going to build the system to be autonomous for the future vision from the outset", said Nikhil Goel, head of product and advanced programs at Uber.

Initially, a ride in the sky will cost a passenger $5.73 per mile, then Uber hopes to eventually get the cost down to 44 cents per mile, which would be comparable to the cost of owning and driving a car.Uber's goal is to conduct demonstration flights in 2020.

These activities will generate the data necessary to support the creation of industry standards, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) rules and procedures, and other regulations. NASA will make the research available to the broader UAM community. Uber is calling its latest renderings electric vertical take-off and landing vehicles common reference models, or eCRM. The space agency says simulations are planned at its research facility at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport.

The Uber VTOL vehicles will be quieter than a helicopter and will create half the noise of a truck, CNBC said.

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