Vikas Prakash, a professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, is already elbow deep in the race to build a functional air taxi.

With a $1.3 million grant from NASA, Prakash and his lab at the Cleveland, Ohio, university are working to develop “high-performance and safe, multifunctional structural battery systems for next generation electric air-vehicles” as part of a $10 million grant shared by a consortium of U.S. universities, including lead partner Ohio State University. GE and Boeing are serving as industrial advisory board members on the project.

Prakash is helping to create the light-weight, fully electric air vehicles that could make personal air travel for-hire a reality.

“I don’t have any doubt,” he said. “In a few years, you will be able to call an air taxi from Uber or someone else to travel maybe 100 miles in a vehicle with two other people. I’m very excited about this.”

To set up an interview with Prof. Prakash, contact Media Relations Rep. Mike Scott at [email protected] or 216-368.1004 

Note: Interviews can be arranged at an on-campus television studio (transmission via VYVX HD loop), by digital tape sync for audio, in-person or by phone.