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NASA gives UC San Diego $5.8 million to develop electric-powered flying taxis

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Posted at 4:12 PM, Feb 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-16 19:12:02-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- NASA has given UC San Diego $5.8 million to help develop electric-powered flying taxis, the school announced Tuesday.

UCSD will lead a group of five universities and companies in creating software to design fleets of vertical-takeoff-and-landing aircraft.

“Customers would go to conveniently located taxi stands, where they could hail a ride with a smartphone app and join other passengers in getting quickly transported significant distances in areas where ground traffic is often congested,” the school said. “Some taxis might be pilotless, flying automated, pre-set routes.”

A “90-minute ground commute to a downtown workplace could be reduced to a 15-minute air taxi flight,” said John Hwang, a UCSD mechanical and aerospace engineering, said in a statement.

The research team includes collaborators from San Diego State University, UC Davis, Brigham Young University, Aurora Flight Sciences, and M4 Engineering.