While NASA is larded with layers of bureaucracy and management, Uber Chief Executive Officer Travis Kalanick has been closely involved in hatching his company's flying vehicle plans, Moore says. These VTOL (vertical takeoff and landing, pronounced vee-tol) aircraft would operate using fixed wings with tilt prop-rotors.
Uber is betting big on flying vehicles.
Mark Moore is leaving a 30-year career at NASA to join Uber for a pretty cool gig: director of engineering for aviation.
"A network of small, electric aircraft that take off and land vertically ... will enable rapid, reliable transportation between suburbs and cities and, ultimately, within cities", Uber wrote a paper on which Moore consulted.
In October, Uber said that it wanted to look into flying auto development in an effort to continue pushing the transportation industry further into the future. The white paper has made the rounds of technologists for a while and even spurred Google co-founder Larry Page to invest in two startups in that space, Zee Aero and Kitty Hawk.
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Chancellor Nicholas Dirks and other campus officials have condemned the actions of protesters who committed vandalism . In 2016, the university also received $216 million in federal student aid, a legislative official said.
Uber announced in its white paper that it will host a VTOL summit later this year to help inspire interest in the Elevate research and coordinate industry efforts to achieve an on-demand VTOL transit system. It's unclear what Uber offered Moore to drawn him away, but Moore told Bloomberg that he wants "to be in the right place at the right time to make this market real".
Moore was listed as a contributor to the paper.
The ride-hailing company's interest in developing a flying vehicle predates Moore's start date. With 55 million riders, it represents a market where VTOL craft could actually be profitable. 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. Certainly no one less passionate than Moore would ever be able to give up on a good portion of his pension and a free lifelong health care support. "It's the federal government who is best positioned to overcome extremely high levels of risks", he said.
His move to Uber is a risky one.