It appears to be that global ride-hailing firm Uber is really serious about developing 'flying taxis' as part of their innovative new project entitled 'Uber-Elevate'. Uber announced the hiring of former NASA engineer Mark Moore in which they confirmed that he would spearhead their flying taxi project.
Moore enjoyed a decorated career with NASA and was tasked with the responsibility of detailing the feasibility of short-haul helicopter-like vehicles designed for urban flight. He outlined the potential for smaller - craft capable of take-off and landing to one day shuttle around larger cities - especially those with mobility issues in an academic paper he drafted in 2010.
Now he will hope to make his vision a reality with Uber-Elevate - Uber's aerial taxi moonshot as the organization's new Director of Engineering. Analysts have said to call Uber's ambitious project anything other than a moonshot would be 'disingenuous'. However, some have predicted that it isn't as preposterous as some would suggest, and believe that Uber-Elevate could actually happen one day.
There are many challenges standing in Uber's way in its quest to produce 'Flying Taxis' - not only from an engineering perspective - there is a harsh regulatory environment that seems hell-bent on ensuring tomorrow's transportation technologies are developed elsewhere.
Uber's innovative vision for the transportation sector would really 'transform' our lives, but its desire for 'on-demand aviation' is going to pose regulatory challenges, of that there is no doubt. Uber's current plan is for a network of small electric vehicles to ferry passengers around large cities autonomously. The 'flying taxis' would be capable of 50-100 miles of flight on a single charge, and could be summoned with just the press of a button on Uber's app.
It's hard not to see the safety concerns, and future legislative battles Uber is going to face moving forward.