Uber is having such a great time implementing a self-driving car program, so the ride-hailing giant decided to up the ante and hired a NASA veteran to develop flying cars, because that’s an outstanding idea.
Mark Moore, a longtime engineer at NASA, left the agency to join Uber to work on a flying car initiative that’s imaginatively titled Uber Elevate, according to Bloomberg. (The car would move about in the air, get it.)
Anyway, Moore thinks Uber is the prima donna of the tech giants, and reportedly said the company is in the strongest position “to be the leader for this new ecosystem and make the urban electric VTOL (vertical takeoff and landing) market real.”
Strong take! One problem: making flying cars an actual thing is a pretty damn big stretch. Airbus last month re-announced its intention to get a prototype into the air sometime real soon, but there’s always a flying car that’s about to takeoff any minute now. (Go ahead, insert your Old Man Yells At Cloud joke here.)
Bloomberg says Uber isn’t constructing a flying robot car just yet, and Moore’s well-aware that a significant number of hurdles need to be crossed to bring them to fruition. But with Uber, he feels, there’s an opportunity to show people will enjoy the idea, and profits abound, if companies get wise to it.
“If you don’t have a business case that makes economic sense, than all of this is just a wild tech game and not really a wise investment,” Moore told the news outlet.
In Moore’s vision, the flying cars would need a range of, at most, 100 miles, and the vehicles could hypothetically recharge while waiting for new passengers. Apologies if it comes off as reactionary, but really, after decades of hearing about flying cars, the idea is tired and ripe for skepticism — one that sounds even more exhausted coming from a company that still seems to be struggling to figure out how to cart people around town and make a buck.