There are few more aggravating things in the world than sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic. If you are on your way to or from work and have your foot on the brake pedal more often than the gas, you’ve questioned whether life is worth living. Reading political bumper stickers, counting stick figure family members and finding out whose kid is a try hard making the honor roll doesn’t help the cause. I can’t wait till that kid of yours heads to college and tuition bankrupts you to the point where you can’t afford that car anymore.
At one point or another in all of our lives, we’ve dreamt of flying our car out of traffic. After years of rumors and innuendo, it appears that dream might soon become a reality.
According to Bloomberg, Uber has hired a man formerly responsible for launching people into space with the task of creating a flying car:
In 2010, an advanced aircraft engineer at NASA’s Langley Research Center named Mark Moore published a white paper outlining the feasibility of electric aircrafts that could take off and land like helicopters but were smaller and quieter. The vehicles would be capable of providing a speedy alternative to the dreary morning commute.
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 Inc. Moore is taking on a new role as director of engineering for aviation at the ride-hailing company, working on a flying car initiative known as Uber Elevate. “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,” he says.
Uber’s vision is a seductive one, particularly for sci-fi fans. The ride-hailing 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. 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.
Just when people are down on Uber and creating trendy hashtags threatening a boycott of the company, they pull you back in.
You know what’s better than driving a flying car? Having someone else chauffeur you around in a flying car. It’s one thing to say you have a private driver; it’s another to say your pilot has arrived.
I don’t know what one of these early models would cost to buy but I can already tell you I can’t afford it. Maybe if I was an honor student I could have designed one of my own. Whatever, I didn’t want to take up any valuable back window space on my parent’s car that could create a potential blind spot. Safety first is my motto.
If I’m being honest with myself, the only chance I have to try out a flying automobile will be through Uber. I can’t wait to rack up those frequent flier miles to and from happy hour. The late night Uber flyby is the future evolution of the “you up?” text message.
Excuse me, pilot, where we’re going, we don’t need roads. But no seriously, just hang a right after this stop sign and my apartment is on the left. .