It’s lift off for Uber’s flying cars with a major hire from Nasa
Think flying cars are just a pie in the sky idea? Think again.
Uber is working on creating driverless cars and has already hinted at more sci-fi ambitions for airborne vehicles, but now its made a serious new hire to lead such technological development.
And where else would you find someone to do such futuristic work? Nasa, of course.
The startup has hired Mark Moore, a Nasa researcher for over 30 years, Bloomberg reports.
Read more: We could see a flying car in action by the end of this year
Creating a craft with VTOL technology – that's vertical take-off and landing – is no easy task, hence, why there are no cars whizing around above out heads in the style of the Jetsons. But, Uber certainly has the money and the inclination to push the boundaries – and now the expertise.
Uber's hed of product Jeff Holden last year told an audience that flying cars were "an obvious thing to do" and shortly after the firm published a comprehensive white paper on the subject.
"On-demand aviation has the potential to radically improve urban mobility, giving people back time lost in their daily commutes," said Holden.
"Ultimately, if VTOLs can serve the on-demand urban transit case well – quiet, fast, clean, efficient, and safe – there is a path to high production volume manufacturing (at least thousands of a specific model type built per year) which will enable VTOLs to achieve a dramatically lower per-vehicle cost."
Uber is not the only company pioneering flying car technology though. Chinese company Ehang, Terrafugia and Aeromobil are all working in the challenging space.
Read more: This European flying car maker just raised €10m
Holden said such a plan was ambitious but achievable over the next decade with collaboration – and if it overcomes the challenges it faces.They include complying with regulation, battery technology, efficiency, performance and reliability, as well as costs, safety and noise to name just a few.
With its work cut out, no wonder it's seeking the best and the brightest.
Moore leaves Nasa's Langley Research Centre where he was chief technologist for on-demand mobility. He also helped out on Uber's white paper on the subject.