Uber showcases its flying taxi service concept

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LOS ANGELES - NASA and Uber have signed an agreement to explore putting flying taxis in the skies over U.S. cities.

NASA and Uber Technologies have teamed up to identify new urban air mobility-related technologies and concepts created to ensure safety of aerial transportation operations in populated areas. According to the announcement the company is working on launching "world's first urban aviation network".

As per the agreement, Uber will provide NASA with details and data on its plans for the Elevate flying taxi service - which the company intends to test in 2020 and have ready for commercial launch in 2023, Houston Public Media notes.

Uber also unveiled some very impressive-looking conceptual images of what these VTOL ports could look like. Announced in April 2017, the Uber Levitate Network plans to have passenger-carrying VTOL (vertical take-off and landing) in the skies by the end of the decade.

Just as skyscrapers allowed cities to use limited land more efficiently, urban air transportation will use three-dimensional airspace to alleviate transportation congestion on the ground. NASA's findings will help guide the creation of industry standards and regulations, the government organization said in a press release timed to Uber Elevate, the tech giant's second-annual summit to discuss flying cars.

The company has just unveiled a prototype of drone-like flying auto, following its plan to launch world's first commercially available air-taxi service by 2023. That means developing an airspace management system that is a more complex version of what we know today as air traffic control.

Although they will be piloted at first, Uber's goal is for these aircrafts to be unmanned. But he became convinced when he saw major aircraft companies spending millions of dollars to develop the flying taxis. She also speaks with Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi and Chief Product Officer Jeff Holden.

However, their woes aren't quite over: An Uber auto-driving vehicle struck and killed a pedestrian in Tempe, Arizona in March. Uber expects the airborne taxi service will cost the same as an Uber Black over the same distance but once the service has enough passengers, it will decrease to UberX rates for the same trip. Aurora said it's committed to doing so on Uber's development schedule.