In a speech at the Web Summit in Lisbon today, Uber’s head of product Jeff Holden announced that the company is adding a third city, Los Angeles, to its list of places where it hopes to pilot its aerial taxi service by 2020. LA joins Dallas-Fort Worth and Dubai as cities announced to be working with Uber on the program.
Uber’s “Elevate” project has largely, until this point, been a whole lot of marketing whooey and very little substance. First mentioned a couple of years ago now in a white paper the low altitude flying car service still has no actual vehicle to show or test but have added significant weight to their goals in a partnership with NASA.
A new Space Act Agreement between Uber and NASA will see the companies join to develop a new air traffic control system to manage the upcoming, electric based (and possibly autonomous) aircraft. The biggest part of this, not the new system being developed per say, but the fact that a reputable, long-standing government department like NASA is working with the long encumbered and muddy-named Uber. It goes a long way in throwing weight behind a company that’s been floundering for a variety of reasons of late.