NASA engineer brought on to work on Uber's flying car project

Johnny Cab meets the Spinner.

The notion of the flying car has been around for decades. Although the idea has been relegated to a science fiction pipe dream, it seems Uber hasn't quite gotten the message. Uber Elevate, the ridesharing company's flying car research arm, is bringing longtime NASA engineer Mark Moore to push the project to new heights. The hire proves that Uber believes the flying car is far more than just vaporware.

According to Bloomberg, Moore is taking on the very specific role of director of engineering for aviation. Back in 2010, Moore released a paper that went over how feasible it would be to build and implement flying cars. The research on VTOL, or vertical takeoff and landing, was so convincing that Google co-founder Larry Page began investing money in two flying car startups. Now, with Uber's backing, Moore can direct his efforts into making the flying car a reality.

While Moore's expertise and experience with NASA is sure to push the project forward, Uber is still a long way off from flying Johnny Cabs. Negotiating with suppliers, dealing with airspace regulations, and certifying the safety of the aircraft are all huge obstacles. Uber and Moore believe that with 55 million riders, it can make a case for safe and efficient skyways. He is confident that a well engineered first-generation flying car is only a few years off.

Moore and Uber have a basic vision for their flying car. The total range would only need to be between 50 and 100 miles, as these are essentially taxis, not long-distance airplanes. They would be able to recharge while waiting for more passengers. Hubs would be set up in popular areas where the vehicles would takeoff, land, and recharge. The concept and vision are there, but it will still be a while before the technology allows it to be a realistic prospect.

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