t seems that the future of commuting is about to get very exciting, at least if Uber has its way. While Elon Musk and friends look to tubes to jet around in the coming years, the ride-hailing app is getting serious about its plans for flying cars. This might sound like something straight out of "The Jetsons," but it's no joke for Uber Elevate, the branch in charge of the project.
The company recently hired NASA engineer Mark Moore to help make its flying ride-hail vehicles a reality. Although Moore isn't a household name (at least not yet), he's credited with spearheading the current race to bring flight crafts to daily urban life. It seems like a match made in heaven, considering how fond Moore seemed to be of Uber over a year before he started working for the company.
"Uber could provide a true door-to-door system," Moore said at the 2015 SAE AeroTech Congress and Exhibition where he was presenting a NASA study on flying air taxis. He then went on to describe a scenario, crafted by him and his team at NASA, where air taxis could realistically provide the same services as today's Uber cars at no extra cost.
Moore first teamed up with the ride-hailing app to work on a report detailing vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) crafts last year. But once the project was completed, Uber and Moore both realized they were meant to be together. According to the aircraft engineer, he has faith in Uber Elevate because the company has economic motivation to succeed in the VTOL field.
Of course, Moore and Uber are both realistic about the fact that it's going to take a long time before VTOL crafts are fully operational. Their ultimate goal is to create self-driving vehicles that are powered by electricity and capable of flying between 50 and 100 miles per charge. Users will be able to request the flying cars through Uber's app, just like we request regular cars today. And the low power costs, autonomous operation and time-saving aspect of minimal congestion means that VTOL could ultimately be more cost effective than today's Uber cars.