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Uber Takes to the Skies

NASA engineer tasked with making on-demand, flying vehicles a reality.


As if Uber’s ride-sharing concept didn’t disrupt the transportation business enough, the giant is now taking steps to bring flying, on-demand vehicles to market, according to an article in TechCrunch.

Uber has intentions to develop a vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft that will serve as the basis for what it claims will be a more cost-effective and efficient ride-sharing service for cities. Now the article says its brought on a former NASA engineer, Mark Moore, to help make its vision for what it’s calling Uber Elevate a reality.

Moore, who consulted with Uber on a recent white paper on VTOL craft, will serve as director of engineering. The project is still very much in its infancy, and Moore highlighted such challenges as improving vehicle efficiency, battery life, and noise pollution as key obstacles in the design process while air-traffic restrictions are a hurdle on the policy and logistics front.

While delivery of the VTOL could be years away, the article says Moore was intrigued by Uber’s vision for “on-demand aviation,” described as networks of small vehicles that can take off and land vertically, are electric powered, and have ranges of between 50 and 100 miles on a single charge. The ultimate goal, and very much in keeping with the Uber business model, is to have the VTOLs operate autonomously and let passengers hail one down via a smartphone app just like they summon a car today.

I’m ready to Uber Elevate, are you?

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