Uber is taking part in a joint industry and government push with NASA to develop an on-demand electric aircraft taxi service, which is scheduled to begin flights in Los Angeles in three years time.
Speaking at the Web Summit in Lisbon yesterday, Uber's head of product Jeff Holden announced that the taxi app had signed a contract with NASA(National Aeronautics and Space Administration) to develop low-flying aircrafts for urban environments.
Uber said on Wednesday it was the first formal services contract by NASA covering low-altitude airspace rather than outer space. NASA has used such contracts to develop rockets since the late 1950s.
Holden also said Uber would begin testing proposed four-passenger, 200-miles-per-hour (322-km-per-hour) flying taxi services across Los Angeles in 2020, its second planned test market after Dallas/Fort Worth.
Holden described Uber’s latest air taxi plans, emphasizing that it was working to win approval from aviation regulators well ahead of introducing such services.
NASA said in a statement it had signed a generic agreement in January with Uber that enables the company to join a variety of industry partners working with NASA to develop a range of driverless air traffic management systems.
That deal calls for Uber to be involved during phase 4 of this work, which is scheduled to begin in March 2019, NASA said.