Uber has taken the next step towards realising its ambition of flying cars by hiring Mark Moore, a NASA engineering veteran of over 30 years to lead its aviation division.
The company is currently working on a flying car initiative, known as Uber Elevate. Although the company is not constructing any flying cars at present, it does have plans to develop them in the coming years.
Mark Moore will be appointed as Uber’s engineering for aviation director and will lead its Elevate project.
While at NASA, Mark Moore published a paper back in 2010 which discussed a Vertical Takeoff and Landing (VTOL) concept aircraft.
In the paper, Moore noted that electric propulsion can be viable solution, offering benefits such as reliability, efficiency low engine weight, maintenance, very low noise and zero emissions.
The only limitation with the propulsion system was the energy storage system currently available, or at least during the time when the paper was published. He anticipated that the storage system capacity will triple in the next 5 – 10 years, the paper stated.
According to Bloomberg, a similar white paper was published by the ride-hailing company last October and Moore was consulted about its viability. He was said to be impressed by the company’s vision and potential impact.
As per Uber product for advanced programmes head Nikhil Goel, Uber has been and is still playing the role of a catalyst in the industry.
“Uber continues to see its role as an accelerant-catalyst to the entire ecosystem, and we are excited to have Mark joining us to work with manufacturers and stakeholders as we continue to explore the use case described in our whitepaper,” Goel was quoted by the publication.
On the other hand, Mark Moore noted that there are several non-technical bottlenecks for flying cars to materialise. These include strict aviation rules and regulations, flying car companies’ negotiations with suppliers to cut down costs.
Moore said that Uber, with its more than 55 million riders could make the flying car project a profitable market.
According to the ride-hailing company, in the future, people could take Uber taxi from their homes to the nearest ‘vertiports’ and would travel to their respective destinations in the flying cars.
With flying ranges between 50- 100 miles, these flying cars are expected to offer an easy way to commute in large cities.