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Uber expanding flying taxi project with second NASA Space Act Agreement

The ride-hailing company will share details on its flying taxi service, while NASA will simulate flights at the Dallas-Fort Worth airport.

Uber is expanding its flying taxi project.
Robyn Beck/Getty Images

Uber on Tuesday signed a second Space Act Agreement with NASA to explore urban air mobility as it pushes forward with its flying taxi project.

As part of the agreement, Uber will share information on its concept for the flying ride-share network, while NASA will use airspace management modeling and simulation algorithms to evaluate the impact flying taxi operations could have in an urban area. The agency will use its research facility at the Dallas-Fort Worth airport to simulate flights, and analyze if the operations could lead to traffic collision advisories. In addition, NASA will look at possible operational safety issues that may arise with the addition of new vehicles in an already crowded air traffic control system.    

The agreement was announced at the second Uber Elevate Summit in Los Angeles, where the company also unveiled its latest design reference for its electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) concept, a flying car for the urban aviation ride-hailing network.

Tuesday's Space Act Agreement follows an earlier agreement Uber signed last year, which focused on developing new Unmanned Traffic Management concepts for Unmanned Aerial Systems. 

"Urban air mobility could revolutionize the way people and cargo move in our cities and fundamentally change our lifestyle much like smart phones have," Jaiwon Shin, associate administrator for NASA's Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate, said in a statement. 

Last year, Uber said Dallas-Fort Worth and Los Angeles would be the first US cities to have an urban aviation ride-share network, with plans to have flight demonstrations in 2020 and commercial availability in 2023.

Jeff Holden, Uber's chief product officer, said in a statement that the new Space Act Agreement allows the company to "combine Uber's massive-scale engineering expertise with NASA's decades of subject matter experience across multiple domains that are key to enabling urban air mobility, starting with airspace systems."