Smartphones, VR and Netflix are cool, but you know what’s cooler? Flying cars. Here we are, living in the 21st century, and the one thing virtually every single sci-fi film and TV promised us was flyin’ freakin’ cars.
If you’re still sore over this historical slight, the engineers at Uber are working on it. In fact, they went and hired Mark Moore, a NASA veteran with over 30 years of experience using electric motors to get a vehicle airborne.
This isn’t a major surprise, however. Last fall, Uber published a white paper detailing plans for what they call “Uber Elevate,” its new division that promises to offer trips via flying cars that skip traffic and those pesky roads. They hope to have the program running in the next 10 years, and hiring someone like Moore will certainly help get them there.
The vehicles they’re developing are called VTOLs, or Vertical Take Off and Landing vehicles, which they define as “a network of small, electric aircraft that take off and land vertically.” They’ll be quieter, lighter and more versatile than helicopters.
As for Moore, he left NASA just a year before he would be set for life with retirement benefits. Sounds silly, but when you consider the cash and equity that Uber is surely throwing at this guy, we have a feeling he’ll be okay. Not surprisingly, Moore was involved in crafting the white paper last fall, so it’s pretty clear he had this exit strategy planned out the whole time.
In terms of feasibility of the technology, there’s little doubt that between Moore’s know-how and the hundreds of millions of dollars already invested in the project from the likes of Google co-founder Larry Page, you’ll see flying cars in the next decade. Major obstacles in the form of the Federal Aviation Authority remain however, who are already trying to figure out what the heck to do with all the drones crowding American airspace.
Here’s hoping these things won’t be stuck in constant surge pricing mode.