Uber hires NASA veteran to help it figure out flying cars

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.

Apparently Moore won't be constructing an actual flying auto system just yet but will instead work on addressing isolated problems specific to Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL) aircraft like "noise pollution, vehicle efficiency, and limited battery life", Bloomberg notes.

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".

Moore has spent the past three decades working at NASA, where he served as chief technologist of on-demand mobility at Langley Research Center, and studied the feasibility of so-called Vertical Take-off and Landing (VTOL, pronounced vee-tol) devices, aka flying cars. Now, Uber made one of its most serious commitments to the project yet by hiring Mark Moore, a former NASA advanced aircraft engineer, to act as the director of engineering for the project, according to Bloomberg. After reading the white paper, Google co-founder Larry Page secretly started and financed two Silicon Valley startups, Zee Aero and Kitty Hawk, to develop the technology, Bloomberg Businessweek reported last summer. The ride-hailing company wants "to play whatever role is most helpful to accelerate this industry's development", the company wrote in an outline. Moore consulted on the paper and was impressed by the company's vision and potential impact. ("We don't need stinking bridges!" says Moore.) These air taxis will only need ranges of between 50 to 100 miles, and Moore thinks that they can be at least partially recharged while passengers are boarding or exiting the aircraft. We haven't really even seen a halfway decent prototype. "At flying altitude, noise from advanced electric vehicles will be barely audible".

  • Eleanor Harrison