Flying Autonomous Cars
On Monday 2/6/17. Uber hired NASA’s Mark Moore as director of engineering to oversee its Uber Elevate department in hopes of coming up with urban air transportation.
Mark Moore, has been working for NASA as a advanced aircraft engineer for 30 years, at its Langley Research Center. Now as the head engineer of aviation at Uber Elevate, Uber has a plan to bring short range air ride service into cities everywhere. This has the potential to give commuters, less wasted time get to and from places they need to go.
Moore wrote his own article on vertical takeoff and landing aircrafts in 2010, and caught the attention of Uber.
Uber Elevate is trying to develop flying transportation all around a city, stationed at vertiports, able to deliver commuters to many different destinations. The flying transports would have a range of 50-100 miles, and would be rechargeable. According to Moore he see this project possible in 1-3 years, but not autonomous for a while.
Of course there are major problems to be dealt with in developing a flying car, certification, battery life, safety, and air traffic control. And then there is the price tag, emissions, training, and infrastructure. Uber is trying to address all the issues, before going ahead.
Besides Uber there are other player in this area. Google co-founder Larry Page has 2 startups Zee.Aero and Kitty Hawk. The Vahana project, is sponsored by Airbus and hopes to launch by 2021. Plus there are about a dozen other companies working in this area.
Uber is definitely identifying itself delving into driverless aircraft. In September 2016, Uber became a huge player, by bring driverless cars to the public with in Pittsburgh. Uber also tried to do the same in San Francisco, but was shot down by California regulators, so was forced to move its fleet to Arizona instead.
This newest announcement by Uber definitely puts it in the public eye as a innovator in transportation.