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WASHINGTON, DC: May 08, 2018. NASA has signed a second agreement with Uber Technologies to explore concepts and technologies to ensure a safe and efficient system for future urban air mobility (UAM) in populated areas.

Uber will share its plans for implementing an urban aviation rideshare network, and NASA will use airspace management computer modeling and simulation to assess the impact of VTOL cargo or passenger taxi drones in crowded environments.

NASA artist impression droneNASA’s definition of UAM is a safe and efficient system for vehicles, piloted or not, to move passengers and cargo within a city.

Following a white paper published in 2016, Uber and aerospace partner Embraer have revealed their respective hybrid drone/air taxi concepts at Uber’s Elevate Summit in Los Angeles this week.

Uber wants to have an electric-powered flying taxi-drone by 2020.

“NASA is excited to be partnering with Uber and others in the community to identify the key challenges facing the UAM market,” said Jaiwon Shin, associate administrator for NASA’s Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate. “Urban air mobility could revolutionize the way people and cargo move in our cities and fundamentally change our lifestyle much like smart phones have.”

At its research facility at DFW International Airport, NASA will use Uber data to simulate a small passenger or cargo aircraft flying through DFW airspace during peak air traffic times to determine requisite safety and noise levels.

(Pictured: A NASA artist’s concept of future aircraft – vertical takeoff, traditional takeoff, crewed, uncrewed – performing a variety of daily missions in rural or urban environments.)

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