Business & Economy

NASA begins testing air taxis to decongest streets

Miami, Sep 1 (EFE).- NASA has begun testing an “electric vertical takeoff and landing” (eVTOL) aircraft to serve as an “air taxi” with an eye toward decongesting roads and providing users with a quicker type of transport service.

NASA announced that tests of the eVTOL, built by the newly-public Joby Aviation company, began last Monday near Big Sur, California, and will continue until Sept. 10.

In the future, these aircraft could serve as air taxies for people living in and near urban areas around the country, thus providing another mode of transportation to move people and merchandise, NASA said Tuesday in a statement.

Besides the air taxis, this system could include aircraft such as drones to delivery packages and medical transport vehicles.

The US space agency will compile information about how the vehicle moves, how it sounds and how it communicates with controllers.

This is the first time that NASA has tested the eVTOL as part of its Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) National Campaign.

The aim is to gather acoustic and performance data for the vehicle, which is a key step in undertaking more complicated test flights with other such vehicles next year.

This test period will help the testing team identify gaps in the Federal Aviation Administration’s current rules and policies to help incorporate this kind of aircraft into the National Airspace System.

The campaign of events to promote airspace mobility around the country will be undertaken in multiple locations over the next several years.

The test is an “important” strategic step for NASA in accelerating the timetable for the AAM industry, Davis Heckenberg, NASA’s coordination chief for the mission, said.

Meanwhile, JoeBen Bevirt, the founder and CEO of Joby Aviation, said that this campaign is fundamental for pushing forward with scientific understanding and public acceptance of eVTOL aircraft.

The team will also test NASA’s air navigability and flight security procedures for approving participants who will be part of the campaign.

The AAM National Campaign is administered by NASA’s AAM project, which plans to be a community catalyst for developing and testing transportation systems.

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