Future Technology

Uber Onboards Veteran NASA Engineer to Jumpstart Future Technology on Flying Cars

Uber Onboards Veteran NASA Engineer for Flying Car Plans to Take Off
PHOTOGRAPH: Dan Taylor | Uber’s man-at-the-helm Travis Kalanick is shown during an event in Munich, Germany.

Ride-hailing firm Uber Technologies Inc. looks bent on actualizing its thrust into the future by developing a flying car. Uber co-founder Travis Kalanick recently onboarded aircraft engineer Mark Moore to work with the people needed to bring the nascent project to life.

Moore published a white paper outlining the feasibility of electric aircraft that could take off and land like helicopters but were smaller and quieter. Uber likewise came out with its own white paper during the last quarter of 2016, outlining a somewhat radical vision for airborne commutes.

Risky Moves

Moore’s decision to leave the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration a year before he could reap retirement perks has been described as a risky one. He realizes there is much work ahead that needs to be done (not just on the technical aspects) to create a sound business case for Uber’s venture into the future of flying cars technology.

Moore has assumed the role of Uber’s director of engineering for aviation, the key person to make Uber Elevate take flight.  He has expressed much optimism that Uber’s strong market position will enable it to spearhead and make the urban electric VTOL (vertical takeoff and landing) innovation a reality.

The research of the senior engineer from NASA’s Langley Research Center senior had earlier captured the attention of Google co-founder Larry Page. The latter lost no time creating two Silicon Valley startups, Zee Aero and Kitty Hawk, to develop “flying cars.

Moore noted that every organization looking to develop flying cars would need to “independently negotiate with suppliers to get prices down, and lobby regulators to certify aircrafts and relax air-traffic restrictions.”  He is clearly up for the challenge and is out to prove that his current pursuit is not “just a wild tech game.”

Uber on the Move

The concept of flying cars had caught on and start-ups have created feasibility studies and designs with the earnest hope of showing that there is a huge, safe and profitable market for them. The past year, Uber was seen experiencing huge growth from gross bookings, but overall revenues were eaten up by additional incentives to further attract riders and drivers to its fold.

Given the ride-hailing global organization’s current financial bottom line, the big question is whether it will be able to sustain its ambitious project.  For now, Uber is evidently very keen to undertake whatever role is most helpful to accelerate the foreseen future technology’s development.

In April last year,  the ride-hailing giant has gotten Huffington Post co-founder, Arianna Huffington, to join its Board of Directors. Her optimistic leadership, as Kalanick stated, will be helpful to Uber as it charts new pathways to success.


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