Meet the NASA Engineer Helping Uber Figure Out Flying Cars

Now Moore is leaving the confines of the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration, where he has spent the last 30 years, to join one of Google's rivals: Uber Technologies.

Uber's plans for a flying service were first hinted at in September 2016 by Uber's Chief Product Officer Jeff Holden. Now, Uber made one of its most serious commitments to the project yet by hiring Mark Moore, a former NASA advanced aircraft engineer, to act as the director of engineering for the project, according to Bloomberg.

"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 to Bloomberg.

While such advanced technology like flying cars is still probably awhile away from societal application, Uber hopes to explore the nascent field of airborne commuting and transit.

The NASA veteran was hired following collaboration on a recent Uber white paper which detailed its exploration into vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft.

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Most notably, Uber said it wasn't going to build its own flying auto, but stood ready to "contribute to the nascent but growing VTOL ecosystem and to start to play whatever role is most helpful to accelerate this industry's development". It said it wants to solve these problems, and Moore served as a consultant for the paper.

The ride-hailing company's interest in developing a flying auto predates Moore's start date. He also 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 wrote that Moore left NASA at some personal expense just a year before he's eligible for retirement and therefore able to receive a larger pension and free healthcare for the rest of his life.

"It's the federal government who is best positioned to overcome extremely high levels of risks", [Moore] says.
Now, the app-based vehicle service has hired someone to help bring that vision to life, an advanced aircraft engineer by the name of Mark Moore.

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