You may think that a flying car is a vision of the future. Not anymore. With several companies already in the work to develop more efficient aerial transportation, flying cars might be a common mode of transportation sooner that we have dreamed of. One of the assertive companies in the industry of developing more efficient modes of transportation is Uber.
Uber started out as an online on-demand transportation network company. They have become popular in the ride-sharing industry and started developing different modes of transport systems. They ventured in developing autonomous cars also known as self-driving cars. Their purpose is to have their own fleet of for-hire vehicles without the need for human drivers. Now, what they are trying to develop is Uber Elevate.
Uber recently hired a top NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) engineer, Mark Moore to spearhead the Uber Elevate project. The concept was first published by Moore in a white paper in 2010 at NASA’s Langley Research Center. The white paper outlines a transportation system that can take off vertically like a helicopter. At that time, they are just talking about helicopters, right? Moore’s white paper talks about a vehicle that is more quiet and smaller than a helicopter. To put it simply, it’s about a flying car.
With VTOL or vertical take-off and landing technology, the Uber Elevate project aims to facilitate a faster way to commute by using the urban airspace, instead of highways and roads. With this, the flying cars will not contribute to land traffic congestion. These flying cars will be designed to travel from 50 to 100 miles per hour in airspace from various “vertiports” or stations between suburbs and cities, and within cities where passengers can be transported from their homes to their workplaces.
Mark Moore has spent thirty years of his life working for NASA and gained expertise in the engineering of electric motors for aerial vessels. Moore’s white paper enumerates the technical challenges in developing aerial vehicles such as noise pollution, vehicle efficiency, and dependable battery life. He left NASA with the vision of developing electric VTOL, and he believes that Uber is a company in a strong position to be at the advantage of making the electric aerial vehicle market become a reality.
Before the Uber Elevate project, Uber already teamed-up with aerial transportation such as the UberChoper. However, the development of a new aerial vehicle will utilize electric powered motors for the purpose of less noise pollution and more compact vehicle.
Other technological companies are already in the development of flying cars. A co-founder of Google, Larry Page invested over $100 million for the development of two VTOL vehicles – Zee Aero and Kitty Hawk. Both designs were also inspired by Mark Moore’s white paper on VTOL vehicles.
As Mark Moore explained, despite the technical challenges such as those listed in his white paper and the possible development costs of these flying cars, we might see them in the air in the next one to three years. Aren’t you just excited to commute in those flying cars?