Uber gave an update on previously announced plans for its flying taxis – technically called electric, vertical take-off and landing vehicles, or eVTOLs – at its Elevate Summit on Tuesday, saying it hopes to have the self-flying helicopter-like craft in the skies over American cities within a few years.
Also on Tuesday, NASA said more about how it will work with Uber on the whole concept of “urban air mobility,” helping to design a system for managing a future airscape that includes small craft such as the flying taxis, along with delivery drones, other drones and traditional aircraft.
“Urban air mobility could revolutionize the way people and cargo move in our cities and fundamentally change our lifestyle much like smart phones have,” Jaiwon Shin, associate administrator for NASA’s Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate, said in a press release.
CNET reported that Uber said Tuesday at the Elevate Summit that it plans to have flying taxis available for passengers in some cities, including in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and in Los Angeles by 2023.
Uber and NASA will work together at a facility in the Dallas area on modeling what the airspace will look like with new aircraft, and how will affect an already overburdened air traffic control system. Uber and NASA announced the partnership last year.
“As small aircraft enter the marketplace, NASA wants to ensure they do so safely, with acceptable levels of noise, and without burdening the current national air traffic control system,” the aeronautics agency said.
Uber’s air taxi program, known as Uber Elevate, was rolled out last year.
According to Uber, about a dozen companies are working on designs for flying taxis.