Uber has hired an engineer from the U.S. space agency NASA to work on its initiative to nurture a flying car industry.
Mark Moore joins the Uber Elevate project, which is aimed at supporting companies that are developing vehicles, as well as working with regulators and governments that would be involved in setting rules.
Uber says it sees itself as a “catalyst” and issued a research paper last year describing its vision for vehicles that most resemble helicopters, but are quieter and cheaper to operate on a mass scale.
The paper said that while Uber’s vision of electric aircraft that take off and land vertically on a network of elevated pads is ambitious, it believes that can be achieved in the coming decade with the right collaboration.
Moore told Bloomberg he predicts there will be several prototypes of flying cars with human pilots within one to three years.
Uber suggests that people might take a conventional Uber ride from their homes to what it calls a ‘vertiport’ where they could board the flying car. That vehicle would then take them to a ‘vertiport’ near their destination.