Uber and NASA are creating a flying taxi network in Los Angeles

Uber has struck a deal with NASA to develop software for 'flying taxi' routes in the air by 2020

In an unlikely partnership, NASA has sought the services of Uber to build air control software that will manage the flying taxis of the future.

In a statement to Reuters, NASA said Uber signed an agreement in January to work with the space agency and various industry partners on driverless air traffic management systems.

The flying taxi project could drastically reduce trip times by avoiding traffic while remaining relatively low-priced.

Uber released a glossily produced promotional video demonstrating what using its aerial taxi service would look like from the perspective of a working mother taking a flight home from work. The aerial vehicles will serve as an alternative to helicopters, which Uber says are too noisy, too risky, too expensive and not environmentally friendly enough to fly in urban environments. Uber previously announced cities Dallas, Texas and Dubai as other partner cities. While all ride hailing services are a bit expensive compared to public transport, Uber's air service is only expected to cost about the same as a ride with UberX. But on Wednesday, the company said it's now adding Los Angeles to its initial trial cities. Then, there's the lack of infrastructure fundamental for their support.

The effort faces numerous regulatory hurdles - including Federal Aviation Administration approval - so that the flying cars can co-exist with drones, airplanes, and helicopters, Bloomberg reported.

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It hopes the futuristic aircraft will be ready for demonstration flights by 2020.

For Los Angeles - one of the world's most congested cities - it also makes a world of sense, especially in light of the city's hosting of the 2028 Olympic Games.

And it seems that Uber has been making the moves to ensure it will happen.

Earlier this year, the firm hired two NASA veterans to run its aircraft vehicle design team and its air traffic management software program. After all, we've been promised flying cars for years. The company's vision involves a fleet of vertical take-off and landing aircraft that will fly at a low altitude, and will be able to pick up and drop off up to four passengers at selected locations.

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