New York, February 9, 2017: The NASA man credited with writing the most influential paper on flying cars and its feasibility as an urban transport vehicle, back in 2010, is joining Uber to change our daily commute forever.
Uber gave the most serious signal of intent amongst big companies trying to launch a flying taxi to conquer traffic jams once and for all. The Silicon Valley transportation network startup headed by Travis Kalanick hired Mark Moore, a veteran NASA engineer, from right under the noses of Google and Airbus — the other big companies trying to launch their own flying car. Moore is credited with writing the definitive 2010 paper exploring the feasibility of helicopter-like flying vehicles for short-haul urban flight.
Mark Moore will join as the Director of Engineering at Uber Elevate, the companyâ€™s project exploring on-demand airborne drives. The veteran NASA engineer knows there are several obstacles in the way before we all hail a flying Uber taxi, but he strongly believes that Uber with its 55 million active riders is uniquely placed to demonstrate that flying taxis can be safe and profitable. â€œIf you donâ€™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,â€ Moore was quoted in a Bloomberg report.
What made Mark Moore walk away from NASA with just one year before heâ€™s eligible for retirement, ditching a substantial amount of his pension and free medical insurance for life? He thinks Uberâ€™s vision for VTOL (vertical take-off and landing) vehicles for commute is an intriguing one.
Uber wants to build â€œvertiportsâ€ in residential neighbourhoods and transport people from their homes to these transport terminals atop buildings and terraces. Flying taxis will take-off vertically and land the same way to pick and drop commuters, and their range will be between 50 to 100 miles. Mark Moore believes that several flying car concepts will bear fruition in the coming three years, with or without human pilots.
While thereâ€™s no word on Googleâ€™s flying taxi yet, Airbus is gearing up to test its autonomous flying taxi later this year and take the first step towards ridding humanity of traffic jams once and for all. If successful, Airbusâ€™ Project Vahana is expected to have a final production grade version of the autonomous flying urban taxi for short, intra-city trips available by 2021!