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NASA Simulates Flying Taxis in and out of Dallas Airport

The new simulation was conducted with Joby Aviation at the NASA Ames Research Center in California

Chuck Martin

December 21, 2023

4 Min Read
Savvy Verma, left, and Huy Tran, director of aeronautics at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California, center, explain an air traffic mgmt simulation
Savvy Verma, left, and Huy Tran, director of aeronautics at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley, center, explain a recent air traffic management simulation to guests at Ames’ FutureFlight Central simulator.NASA/Jesse Carpenter

NASA and flying taxi company Joby Aviation completed a series of air traffic simulations with 120 eVTOL (electric vertical takeoff and landing) operations per hour at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport.

The new simulation was developed by the NASA Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley and conducted at Ames’ air traffic control simulation facility.

During the simulation, teams of air traffic controllers tested the ability to integrate up to 120 takeoffs and landings by electric aerial vehicles (EAV) per hour from the Dallas-Fort Worth Central Terminal Area, alongside the airport’s existing traffic.

"Working alongside our NASA colleagues, we have now demonstrated in a real-world simulation how air taxi operations can take place in today’s airspace system, alongside active airport traffic, using tools and procedures currently available to air traffic controllers," said Tom Prevot, air taxi product lead at Joby. "These successful simulations were made possible by years of careful planning and collaboration between two organizations committed to redefining what is possible, and we’re proud to be paving the way towards the scaled commercialization of air taxis in the National Airspace System."

Representatives from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the National Association of Air Traffic Controllers and other stakeholders viewed the simulation at the Future Flight Central facility, which provides a 360-degree, full-scale simulation of an airport.

Related:Flying Taxi Company Plans Service Across Japan

The groups are exploring changes to the current airspace system.

The simulation is intended to provide air traffic controller data to the FAA and industry for integrating EAV operations.

“We’re trying to enable a better quality of life,” said Savvy Verma, urban air mobility researcher at NASA Ames. “Some people are stuck in traffic for hours on the way to the airport. A 12-mile trip can take 45 minutes. Imagine being able to do that same trip in 15 minutes.”

Joby recently teamed with ANA Holdings and Nomura Real Estate Development, one of Japan’s largest real estate developers, to create vertiports for its air taxi service across Japan.

The initial focus will be on metropolitan areas such as Tokyo before expanding to urban areas across the country, according to Joby, an eVTOL (electric vertical takeoff and landing) company.

The Joby four-passenger EAV is designed for rapid, back-to-back flights and can fly up to 100 miles on a single charge at speeds up to 200 mph.

Traveling from Manhattan to JFK Airport could be done in seven minutes, according to the company. 

Related:Flying Taxi Startup Gets $10M to Expand in California

Joby recently was awarded a $9.8 million grant to expand in California.

As part of the deal, Joby agreed to invest $41 million and create 690 additional full-time jobs in the state by 2027.

Joby recently flew an exhibition flight over New York City.

At that event, a heliport infrastructure for eVTOL vehicles in New York City was announced at a news conference.

Joby has a partnership with Delta Air Lines with New York as one of its early launch markets once approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). 

Since 2017, Joby has flown more than 30,000 miles with its full-scale prototype EAV, according to the company.

Joby has been working on its electric flying vehicles for more than a decade with commercial passenger service planned for 2025.

Joby recently delivered the first eVTOL vehicle to the Air Force at the Edwards Air Force Base in California, believed to be the first eVTOL taxi delivered in the U.S. as part of a $131 million contract between the Department of Defense and Joby.

In September, Joby selected Dayton, Ohio, as the location to build facilities to deliver up to 500 flying vehicles a year.

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Related:Electric Air Taxi Flies Over New York City; New Heliport Coming


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Flying Cars

About the Author(s)

Chuck Martin

Editorial Director AI & IoT

Chuck Martin, a New York Times Business Bestselling author, futurist and columnist, is Editorial Director at Informa Tech, home of AI Business, IoT World Today and Enter Quantum. Martin has been a leader in emerging digital technologies for more than two decades. He is considered one of the foremost emerging technology experts in the world and his latest book is titled "Flying Vehicles" (The Emergence of Personal Air Travel, Flying Cars, and Air Taxis). He also is the author of "Digital Transformation 3.0" (The New Business-to-Consumer Connections of The Internet of Things).  He hosts a worldwide podcast titled “The Voices of the Internet of Things with Chuck Martin,” where he converses with top executives from the companies driving the adoption of emerging technology.

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