The future is now
To everyone who feels cheated that we don't have flying cars yet, take heart: Uber Elevate could be coming soon.
To get there, Uber has hired former NASA aircraft engineer Mark Moore as its "director of engineering for aviation," Bloomberg Technology reported Monday. "I can't think of another company in a stronger position to be the leader for this new ecosystem and make the urban electric VTOL market real," Moore said, using the acronym for "vertical takeoff and landing."
Bloomberg lays out the goal:
The company envisions people taking conventional Ubers from their homes to nearby "vertiports" that dot residential neighborhoods. Then they would zoom up into the air and across town to the vertiport closest to their offices. ("We don't need stinking bridges!" says Moore.) These air taxis will only need ranges of between 50 to 100 miles, and Moore thinks that they can be at least partially recharged while passengers are boarding or exiting the aircraft. [Bloomberg]
Nevertheless, Uber's work on physically constructing a flying car is still a thing of the future of the time being. Obstacles like price, noise pollution, and battery life all need to be addressed in the intervening years. They might be short years, though: Moore "predicts we'll see several well-engineered flying cars in the next one to three years and that there will be human pilots, at least managing the onboard computers, for the foreseeable future," Bloomberg reports.