Uber Hires NASA Engineer Because It Wants Flying Cars

Technology / 7 Comments

We're not making this up.

Uber Technologies, Inc. new division is called Uber Elevate, and a 30-year NASA veteran aircraft engineer, Mark Moore, will be its director, according to a report from Bloomberg. The ride-hailing company isn't planning to launch a flying car in the near future, if ever, but rather wants to be the one "to organize the industry to help spur development of flying cars." Moore himself is no stranger to flying cars. Back in 2010, he published a white paper "outlining the feasibility of electric aircrafts that could take off and land like helicopters but were smaller and quieter."

At the time, Google co-founder Larry Page was inspired by Moore's ideas and secretly invested in two flying car startups. But Uber is taking things further with Moore's hiring. But it's important to know that even if a flying car is developed, there are many additional issues that would need to be worked out. These include negotiating with suppliers to reduce prices and lobby the appropriate regulators in order to, for example, relax air-traffic restrictions. But Uber firmly believes flying cars are possible, even with all of the challenges involved. "If you don't have a business case that makes economic sense, than all of this is just a wild tech game and not really a wise investment," Moore stated.

Uber wants to eventually see its 55 million users at neighborhood "vertiports" where they'd go into the air through those "ports" as part of the daily work commute. Think of them as air taxis with a 50-100 mile range. Sounds pretty sci-fi, right? Definitely, but this, along with fully autonomous driving, could potentially be the future of transportation.

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