Uber signed a Space Act Agreement with NASA collaborating to create an “unmanned traffic management system” for their flying taxis design, called uberAIR, on Wednesday, Nov. 8. Uber’s chief product officer Jeff Holden made the announcement at the Web Summit technology conference in Lisbon, Portugal.
“These are exactly the kind of partners we need to make uberAIR a reality,” Holden said of NASA. “Doing this safely and efficiently is going to require a foundational change in airspace management technologies.”
Last April at the Elevate Summit, Uber partnerships had already been revealed with aviation companies as well as Dallas, Texas and Dubai, working to bring flying cars to those cities According to CNBC. Uber trusts that flying cars are necessary to protecting their business. Uber believes that flight will be apart of daily lives and that they will be able to offer flying car rides for the same price as an UberX, already projecting to make hour and a half car rides into 30 minute flights. The plan is to have a fully functioning uberAIR by 2023. They’ll rely on high traffic areas, low altitude flights and vertical takeoff and landing vehicles technology, or “VTOL.”
In 2019, recommendations from Uber and partners will be given to the Federal Aviation Administration According to CNN. The FAA will then regulate the best approach towards establishing these air trafficking systems. Testing will take place in Los Angeles, in 2020, with Uber’s goal in mind to be “several years ahead” of transporting services for the 2028 Olympics, also in LA.
Along with uberAIR, the billion dollar company has also devoted time and money into self-driving cars, looking to be ahead of the transportation game in the sky and on land.
“If you’re not planting the seeds 5-10 years out,” Holden said, “you have no company in five to 10 years.”
Transportation in LA alone is outrageous, with the 2028 Summer Games in addition it’ll be straight up atrocious. Uber is a multibillion-dollar ridesharing app, actively trying to stay on top. But there are a lot more current issues in our country, let alone the world, that need to be attended to before tackling the complications of traffic.
Some of these include the Flint, Michigan Water Crisis, the violence in Chicago, the thousands of those who are homeless, etc. We need to stop forgetting about victims of the three hurricanes in the past year, a month after they happen, rather than look a decade ahead into transportation concerns.
Let’s think of others before The Jetsons. NASA is the best of the best, but this VTOL technology is an accident waiting to happen. Any transportation, whether in the sky or on land, has a chance of a problem occurring. No one wants to see anyone get hurt, especially during such a globally anticipated event such as the Olympics. This outlook should be taken into consideration, especially when everything that goes up must come down. Let’s focus on resolving these problems on the ground, before getting lost in the clouds.