SAN FRANCISCO—Uber will be teaming up with NASA expert Mark Moore to devise the construction of its latest proposal: ‘flying cars.’

The project, called Vertical Take-off and Landing (VTOL), aims to increase commute efficiency with ‘on-demand-aviation’: The customer takes a conventional Uber, or walks, to the closest ‘vertiport’, where a flying car is on stand-by to transport them to another ‘vertiport’ near their travel destination. The small, electric aircrafts will take off and land vertically, enabling “rapid, reliable transportation between suburbs and cities and, ultimately, within cities,” according to Uber.

Uber's flying car.
Uber’s flying car.

Moore, a 30-year NASA veteran, focused largely on conceptual design studies of advanced aircraft concepts during his career. With Uber, he is slated to direct the project’s aviation engineering, where his primary role is to enhance the company’s flying strategy, coined Uber Elevate – originally outlined in a 98-page white paper released in October 2016. Moore predicts several cars will be in the air within the next one to three years, but operated by human pilots for the foreseeable future, Bloomberg reported.

“Uber continues to see its role as a catalyst to the growing developing VTOL ecosystem,” Nikheil Goel, head of product for advanced programs at Uber, wrote in a statement. “We’re excited to have (Moore) join us to work with companies and stakeholders as we continue to explore the use case described in our white paper.”

The project is a work in progress – particularly because it still poses serious feasibility challenges, as well as several technical issues, like: battery life, noise pollution, vehicle efficiency, and compliance with air-traffic restrictions.

Written By Parnika Goel and Sabrina Bush