Just as we’ve come to accept that autonomous vehicles are the official mode of transportation for our future, NASA and Uber announced their plans to push those boundaries even further. On November 8th, 2017, Forbes released an article announcing the powerhouse partnership, and their plans to make flying autonomous taxi services a reality by 2020.

Autonomous Vehicles Fly in Project Elevate

The dynamic duo plans to bring “Project Elevate” to Los Angeles, and if successful, hopes to make it the main mode of transportation at the 2028 Olympics. So far, the plan consists of a drone-like flying vehicle that is estimated to fully charge in 4 minutes, and hold the charge for about 60 miles. The low-altitude air taxi is expected to carry up to 4 passengers and no driver, as NASA will implement its Unmanned Traffic Management Technology (UTM).

Naturally, mixed thoughts of excitement and skepticism arise considering autonomous vehicles were not expected to surface until 2020. The idea of autonomous skyborn taxi services may initially seem far-fetched as well. There is certainly a long road ahead, but AER anticipates the new technologies, whether grounded on airborne, will be well-received once perfected. If all goes as planned, the autonomous shift will bring forth new opportunities to the manufacturing industry, as well as anticipated decreased costs, and increased safety levels.  

AV Taxis Will Be Cost Efficient

While the new autonomous taxi service may initially come at a premium, experts are already anticipating the autonomous electric taxi service to eventually be more cost efficient than driving a personal vehicle. Considering the recent gas tax hike in California and the tighter strain it has placed across industries, they may be right. Further, the autonomous vehicle technology is intended to significantly decrease collisions due to human error and under the influence driving. For now, the potential benefits of autonomous technology seems to far outweigh the downfalls.

Read the full Forbes article here.