Uber’s vision for a flying car just got a lot clearer.
The ride-hailing service has hired veteran NASA engineer Mark Moore as director of engineering for aviation, according to Bloomberg News. Moore has more or less lead the charge into vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) aircraft. In 2010, the advanced aircraft engineer published a white paper on the vehicles.
Last October, Uber published its own white paper on flying cars, detailing both the improvements such engineering could bring to transportation and the problems it would face. The paper described a program called Uber Elevate and detailed the design of the craft.
“Uber is close to the commute pain that citizens in cities around the world feel,” the company wrote. “We view helping to solve this problem as core to our mission and our commitment to our rider base. Just as skyscrapers allowed cities to use limited land more efficiently, urban air transportation will use three-dimensional airspace to alleviate transportation congestion on the ground.”
Moore was listed as a contributor to the paper. The company’s vision was impressive, he told Bloomberg, and he believes Uber is in a unique position when it comes to flying cars. With 55 million riders, it represents a market where VTOL craft could actually be profitable.
“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,” Moore told Bloomberg.
Moore’s move to the ride-hailing service represents a step toward flying cars, but he said many obstacles remain, including design, pricing and air-traffic restrictions. In other words, don’t expect to see Uber Elevate on your phone anytime soon.