At its second annual Elevate conference, Uber provided us with an update on its air taxi plans.
The ride-sharing company originally partnered with NASA as the two looked for ways to develop a safe and efficient autonomous air transportation solution for both consumers and cargo.
Particularly in dense areas, the actual distance traveled can be relatively minimal, but because of crowds and traffic, actually getting from Point A to Point B can be a different story.
The vehicles -- Vertical Takeoff and Landing (VTOL) aircraft -- have horizontal propeller blades like that of a helicopter, as well as a forward-facing propeller, like a small plane. In a way, it sort of looks like a drone.
Previously, Dallas and Los Angeles were two cities that approved of the partnership's testing. That is, when the product is ready, and that could be coming pretty soon.
The companies have expanded their partnership, with Uber signing its first Space Act Agreement with NASA. Uber will provide information on its VTOL units while NASA will use simulators for flights over Dallas. Worth mentioning is that Uber also signed an agreement to develop and test an air taxi with the U.S. Army.
Further NASA and Uber are looking to deploy testing of the VTOL vehicles as early as 2020. So remember to keep an eye on the sky!
The two hope that in 2023, customers will be able to take commercial flights using the service.
This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author had no positions in the stocks mentioned.