Uber is accelerating their plans to take to the skies, hiring an ex-NASA engineer to help them develop a flying car system.
Not content with revolutionizing the way we hail a ride, the tech giant wants to change the way we get from A to B altogether. Uber announced last year that they were developing a vertical take-off and landing system (VTOL), and they’ve just signed Mark Moore, formerly of NASA’s Langley Research Center, as their Director of Engineering.
Moore has been working to develop VTOL systems for a number of years now, publishing a white paper on the subject back in 2010. Late last year, Uber published its own VTOL white paper, outlining its plans to take ride sharing to the skies and cut down commuting times from 2-hours to just 18 minutes in congested cities like Sao Paolo, Brazil.
Moore was a contributor to Uber’s white paper, and the ride-sharing group’s vision has clearly captured the veteran engineer’s interest. Moore told Bloomberg that he feels he’s backing the winning horse in the race to make VTOL a reality.
“I can’t think of another company in a stronger position to be the leader for this new ecosystem and make the urban electric VTOL market real.”
The project, dubbed Uber Elevate, would see passengers ferried to their destination by way of electric VTOL-capable vehicles operating out of various hubs. Those hubs, Uber said last year, would be easy to create by way of using existing structures such as parking garages and helipads.
(Uber Elevate plans to dramatically cut commute times in the world’ s most congested cities)
Even with their new VTOL guru on board, there remain a number of obstacles in to overcome if Uber is to make its Uber Elevate project a reality. Noise abatement, air traffic control, and accessible pricing are just a few of the hurdles standing between us and the ultimate sci-fi commute. But, make no bones about it, Uber is fully focused on making our commutes feel less like a trip on the 405, and more like a cruise through Coruscant’s airborne highways.
Image Credits: Uber