Uber has set a lofty goal: Build and test electric flying taxis by 2020.
But the task is immense, carrying plenty of obstacles and leaving the ride-hailing company in need of help to realize the project.
One of those hurdles -- limiting the noise level of the air taxis -- has led Uber to the University of Texas, and more specifically, to a handful of researchers and engineers at the university and within the U.S. Army Research Laboratory at UT.
On Thursday morning, university officials and Uber announced that the research lab and UT will work together to design new rotors for Uber’s air taxi program.
The collaborative effort, slated to last roughly 18 months, will be one of the most crucial projects in making Uber’s flying dreams a reality. It is scheduled to run just long enough for Uber to meet its two-year timeframe for testing the flying taxi program in Dallas, Los Angeles and a yet-to-be-determined international city.
It will also be one of the Army lab’s first major projects at UT since launching a space in Austin in 2016.
My guess is that UT's and the Army's involvement will lead to such vehicles being used in combat on battlefields around the planet, possibly even in US cities.
Face it - the military ain't in the business of helping We the People. And Uber's methodology for tracking people and vehicles is tailor made for military applications.
Everything's a weapon now, if you want it to be.