Published: Tue, February 07, 2017
Research | By Elizabeth Houston

Uber Hires NASA Veteran to Work On Flying Car Project

Mark Moore, formerly with Langley Research Center, published a white paper on vertical takeoff and landing, or VTOL, in 2010. According to report from Bloomberg, Uber recently hired a former NASA engineer named Mark Moore who has a research background into what can accurately be categorized as flying vehicle technology. If Uber has anything to do with it, that will one day be a reasonable request.

In October, Uber said that it wanted to look into flying auto development in an effort to continue pushing the transportation industry further into the future. He will now serve as director of aviation engineering at Uber, where he'll oversee the company's Elevate intiative, according to Bloomberg Technology. One Uber official even suggests we could have flying cars in the next decade.

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Most notably, Uber said it wasn't going to build its own flying vehicle, but stood ready to "contribute to the nascent but growing VTOL ecosystem and to start to play whatever role is most helpful to accelerate this industry's development". It's unclear what Uber offered Moore to drawn him away, but Moore told Bloomberg that he wants "to be in the right place at the right time to make this market real". And Moore said VTOL craft companies would have to lobby politicians for more lenient air-traffic controls and quicker vehicle certifications. Terrafugia, a Massachusetts-based startup, has with its Transition "roadable aircraft" developed a viable flying-car technology, but thus far, the company hasn't delivered any of the aircraft/vehicles. He also predicts we'll see several well-engineered flying cars in the next one to three years and that there will be human pilots, at least managing the onboard computers, for the foreseeable future. "It's the federal government who is best positioned to overcome extremely high levels of risks", he says. By moving to Uber, he will forgo on a big percentage of his pension.

Kalanick's bet on Uber Elevate is another indication that while Silicon Valley seems on the surface to be consumed with politics and protests these days, the march into the future continues apace.

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