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NASA, Uber Working Together To Develop Systems For Flying Cars

By Inigo Monzon, International Business Time

NASA and ridesharing firm Uber have teamed up to study and analyze the technology and logistics involved in launching a traffic network for flying cars. The collaboration is part of NASA’s Urban Air Mobility (UAM) project.

The UAM focuses on developing an air transportation system that caters to low-flying personal and public vehicles as well as package-delivery drones.

The UAM will oversee the logistics involved in handling air traffic for flying cars and drones while NASA’s other project, dubbed as the Unmanned Aircraft Systems Traffic Management (UTM) will focus on the technology involved in making futuristic air travel possible.

For the development of these projects, NASA partnered with Uber in order to implement a network for urban aviation ridesharing. Currently, these two have been working on simulations and various tests related to the logistics of implementing an air traffic system for passenger vehicles and delivery drones.

The tests are currently being conducted at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley.

“This week, the two are running tests focused on identifying the kinds of data and information necessary for UAM, where multiple operators of sometimes passenger-sized vehicles will need to fly safely together on the airspace,” NASA said in a statement.

“The teams at Ames and at Uber will connect their computer systems and run through different scenarios that UAM operators could encounter,” the agency added. “One focuses on coordinating scheduling of different flights prior to takeoff, for example; another on coordinating different elements of an emergency landing situation.”

As for Uber, the ridesharing company’s flying car project is currently known as UberAir. According to Jeff Holden, the company’s chief product officer, the technologies and systems that NASA and Uber will develop as part of the UAM and UTM projects will ultimately pave the way for providing safe and efficient air-based ridesharing services through UberAir.

“UberAir will be performing far more flights over cities on a daily bases than has ever been done before,” Holden said in a statement, according to Space.com. “Doing this safely and efficiently is going to require a foundational change in airspace management technologies.”