This’ll Work Out Just Fine, I’m Sure

LISBON (Reuters) – Uber is taking part in a joint industry and government push with NASA to develop software which the company aims to use to manage “flying taxi” routes that could work like ride-hailing services it has popularized on the ground.

Uber said on Wednesday it was the first formal services contract by the U.S. National Aeronautical and Space Administration (NASA) covering low-altitude airspace rather than outer space. NASA has used such contracts to develop rockets since the late 1950s.

Chief Product Officer Jeff Holden also said Uber would begin testing proposed four-passenger, 200-miles-per-hour (322-km-per-hour) flying taxi services across Los Angeles in 2020, its second planned test market after Dallas/Fort Worth.

First impression: why is NA$A doing this? You’d think that this was in the FAA’s bailiwick. One might consider that since NA$A’s body count is far less than that of the FAA, this might be the right move.

NASA death percentage(2)

(Thanks to Jeffersonian for the chart)

Still, one cannot help but remember both Challenger and Columbia. Not to mention the part about NA$A’s history of sucking up vast quantities of tax dollars to build equipment that only gets used once. True enough, one needs to recall Voyager, the Mars Rover, and the Cassini spacecraft as examples of NA$A not only getting it right, but getting it right long past the point that any reasonable person would expect. Still, would you trust your life to an agency that has turned into a make-work administration for people with advanced degrees?

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