Time to rekindle the dream of the flying car as Uber recently committed to research and develop their own fleet of airborne vehicles. We wonder if the ride-hailing giant will overcome the multitude of barriers that keep our dreams of flying taxis from becoming a reality.
With all of the buzz surrounding self-driving vehicles in 2016, we’d be hard pressed to believe 2017 is the year of the flying car.
Well, here at Edgy Labs we had a hunch that some exciting news about flying cars was right around the corner, and it looks like we were right.#UberElevate hired a #NASA engineer and invested in flying car development.Click To Tweet
Call it a testament to our precognitive abilities, but we’ve watched the bleeding edge of technology long enough to see where current trends are taking us, and soon they may be taking us to the skies.
We’ve got an update on the very real possibility of flying vehicles, and it has to do with a big name in modern transportation services: Uber.
Uber Throws Their hat in the Ring
It’s amazing how small, innovative companies have adapted to match changes in various industries.
Take Netflix, for example.
They start out as a nuanced mail-order DVD rental service, then moved to using rental machines outside of local McDonald’s restaurants. Then they took advantage of video streaming technology and became the premier entertainment streaming site. After the complete transition to streaming, they began creating their own proprietary content. They followed the technological entertainment trend to the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, and so did we. Shows like Stranger Things have changed the game.
This continued, successful pivoting of companies like Netflix have kept them ahead of their competition. Now Uber wants to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to urban transportation services.
In less than ten years, Uber has changed how we think about flexible labor, and they have even invested in self-driving cars, but all of that pales in comparison to their plans to advance the idea of the flying car.
They first revealed their plans for elevated transport in a white paper released last year, and now they have hired Mark Moore away from NASA to direct their ‘aviation engineering’ department.
Moore is a 30-year NASA vet who has touted the possibility of electric VTOL (vertical take off and landing) vehicles since he wrote a paper on the subject in 2010. With premier talent like him at the head of their flying car initiative known as Uber Elevate, the ride-hailing company could be poised to go from a nuanced taxi service model to a giant of the flying automobile industry.
According to Moore, NASA is leaving new aviation markets to the private industry. He’s jumping ship over to Uber so that he can “be in the right place at the right time to make this market real.” Uber’s ambitious plans to create a new fleet of flying vehicles along with an infrastructure to support them is going to give him plenty to do in the near future.
Uber Elevate Can’t Just fly Over Hurdles
Uber has made significant investments, but there are huge concerns regarding infrastructure and regulatory policy for flying vehicles. Moore has his work cut out for him. If you read our previous article on flying cars, you already knew that.
The infrastructure for Uber Elevate may sound nice in theory, but unless they are the only vehicle in the skies, it still isn’t entirely practical. On top of that, the problem of a robust and sustainable enough power source is still a significant barrier to the project.
To their credit, Uber is aware of these hurdles and more, and they have stated publically their plans for overcoming them. For now, there is no new news on any practical advancements. Of course, that’s what Moore is joining up for. Keep your ear to the ground (or maybe your eye to the sky) to see what comes from the Uber Elevate camp.
While the idea may remain highly experimental for the near future, Uber is working hard to make it a reality. Get ready to fly to work.