Uber Hires Veteran NASA Specialist to Develop Flying Cars

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uber-elevate

Uber Elevate

Uber Technologies Inc. hired NASA veteran engineer Mark Moore, who worked at the federal agency as an advanced aircraft engineer.

Moore will act as Director of Engineering at Uber Elevate, which is the company’s division for the exploration of airborne on-demand drives.

Mark Moore published a white paper in 2010 outlining the feasibility of the helicopter-like vehicles. The vehicles would be capable of providing a speedy alternative to the dreary morning commute.

Hiring Moore on came after the NASA engineer consulted on Uber’s recent white paper on VTOL craft, according to Bloomberg.

Uber isn’t constructing a flying car yet. In its own white paper published last October, the company laid out a radical vision for airborne commutes and identified technical challenges it said it wanted to help the nascent industry solve, like noise pollution, vehicle efficiency and limited battery life. Moore consulted on the paper and was impressed by the company’s vision and potential impact.

Moore acknowledged that many obstacles stand in the way, and they’re not only technical. He says each flying car company would need to independently negotiate with suppliers to get prices down, and lobby regulators to certify aircrafts and relax air-traffic restrictions. But he says Uber, with its 55 million active riders, can uniquely demonstrate that there could be a massive, profitable and safe market. “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 told Bloomberg. [read at Bloomberg]

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