‘Why not fly over it?’ Uber picks New Jersey firms in ambitious bid to beat traffic congestion

Two local companies are in the vanguard of building Uber’s latest venture of dominating cities’ skies through air taxis, a project called Uber Elevate…

But that independence comes with regulatory risks, something that Rahul Mangharam, associate professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s school of engineering and applied science, is researching solutions for.

“It’s going to be a very congested sky,” said Mangharam, who studies urban air mobility, specifically regarding drones delivering food or packages. “You want to make sure that each flight plan is safe by design, and that even if they do mess up for some reason, they have a fallback option.”

Mangharam and his doctoral students created Fly-by-Logic, an unmanned system that coordinates air traffic for small aerial vehicles such as drones or air taxis. They test the system at the Pennovation Center in Grays Ferry, and it works like a three-dimensional GPS for the sky…

With the lack of regulations or formal systems in place, Mangharam doubts that air taxis will be officially available by Uber’s ambitious 2023 date.