Good news for the Sci-Fi fans! Your dream of flying cars is going to come true. Uber is planning to expand the scope of flying car experiment which is also called Uber Elevate. The company just hired Mark Moore as their director of aircraft engineering. For those who didn’t know about Mark Moore, he was the aircraft engineer at NASA’s Langley Research Center. He published a document stating the feasibility of electric aircraft which can take off and land.
The cars will fly just like helicopters, and they will be quieter and smaller. His published research is called VTOL (Vertical Take Off and Landing), aka the flying cars. After reading his papers and research, Google Co-Founder Larry Page started financing two Silicon Valley startups. One was Zee Aero and Kitty Hawk for developing this technology.
Moore’s opinion on Uber Elevate
At present, Moore is leaving the limitations of NASA, and he is joining Google’s rivals in Uber. Moore was impressed by Uber’s work on the subject. He saw a chance to make his vision a reality. Moore said that the key decision for joining Uber Elevate was the company had got a practical business case to make flying service commuter transit service real. According to his statements, “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.”
Primary focus of Uber at present
Uber Elevate is not creating a flying car immediately. The company has just laid out a radical vision for the airborne commutes and also identified the technical challenges. The primary focus of the company is to reduce noise and air pollution, increase vehicle efficiency and also enhance the battery life. Nikhil Goel, the head of Product or Advanced Program in Uber, said, [quotes quotes_style=”bquotes” quotes_pos=”center”]Uber continues to see its role as an accelerant-catalyst to the entire ecosystem, and we are excited to have Mark joining us to work with manufacturers and stakeholders as we continue to explore the use case described in our whitepaper.[/quotes]
The challenges inbound for Uber Elevate
Many non-technical challenges are also there in the development process. A flying car company need (Uber Elevate) needs to negotiate with the suppliers to get the prices. The company has to meet with the lobby regulators so that they can certify aircraft and relax the air-traffic restrictions. At present, there are 55 million active riders of Uber. It can be a massive and profitable market for Uber. Uber Elevate envisions people taking the common Ubers from their homes to nearby “Vertiports”. And from there, it would be a nice and smooth ride to their destinations. The air taxis will need ranges of between 50-100 miles. The pilots can recharge the air taxis in when the passengers are boarding or exiting the air taxi.
A big risk for Mark Moore
Moore also predicts that we will see few hundreds of Air Taxis in the next one-two years. Human pilots will drive the car. Moore is leaving NASA one year before his scheduled retirement. It is a risky move for Moore. He is walking away from a significant percentage of pension and free healthcare for life, “to be in the right place at the right time to make this market real.” It is Moore’s words. Uber CEO Travis Kalanick is also pretty intimately involved in creating the flying cars for his company. Some are of the opinion that Kalanick is focused on Uber Elevate while half of the Silicon Valley is focused on involved in politics and protests against Trump.