Uber’s leanings towards flying cars are no secret. The company is one among a number of corporations with interest in transport that are attempting to take passengers to the skies. Towards the same, the company has hired NASA engineer Mark Moore as the Director of Engineering at Uber Elevate. Moore, who is something of a pioneer in the field of vertical take off and landing (VTOL) crafts, will now be leading Uber’s efforts in the direction.
Moore is known for almost single-handedly propelling interest in VTOL crafts with a research paper that was published in 2010 and that dealt with the feasibility of the helicopter-like vehicles for the purpose of short-distance urban flight. He had been working at NASA as an advanced aircraft engineer and as such, is well suited for the job.
As per a Bloomberg report, Moore’s decision to join Uber came after he consulted one of the cab aggregator’s white papers that dealt with VTOL crafts. Apparently, Moore was not only impressed by the work that had been done at the company so far, but in Uber, he also saw a potential to make his vision come true within the foreseeable future. These two factors combined with the realization that a market and profits — things which aren’t really an overriding concern at NASA — were necessary motives to get some wheels moving earnest, were enough to induce Moore to leave the federal agency and join Uber.
Meanwhile, Moore will be a definite asset to Uber and its Elevate platform. The company is aiming to get to a point where passengers can summon autonomous, flying cars to take them to their destinations with a minimum of hassle. The cars are expected to be powered by electricity and be able to travel somewhere between 50 to 100 KMs on a single charge.
While such a service is not like to come on the field for a few years due to the immense complexities involved, we are likely to see Uber test different designs against each other. The company is expected to launch VTOLs that have human drivers at first, and later follow up with designs that are capable of flying on their own.
Uber is not the only company attempting to field a fleet of self-driving cars — others include AirBus and various startups — but it is certainly one of the most active in the field. Apart from working on the technology on its own, the company will also host various summits with the aim of bringing folks interested in VTOL technology under one roof and have them co-ordinate their efforts for faster results.
As for myself, I am just waiting for the day when I will be able to zoom above the congestion on the roads in my self-driving, Uber elevate cab.