It sounds a little insane, but a shakeup involving NASA and Uber might mean that flying cars will land in your city sooner than you think, because Uber just poached the Thomas Edison of personal aviation from NASA - and we have Donald Trump to thank.
There are a number of things that still need to happen for flying cars to become a reality: Batteries need to last longer, air travel regulations need refinement, autonomous flight need to be developed, and noise pollution needs to be reined in.
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.
Uber is betting big on flying vehicles. The company has been envisioning a flying taxi service since last October. These aircrafts would operate with fixed wings with tilt-prop rotors. Airbus last month re-announced its intention to get a prototype into the air sometime real soon, but there's always a flying vehicle that's about to takeoff any minute now. So far, Uber is looking forward for another company to provide it with a decent prototype which they can buy it off of.
Uber's Head of Product for Advanced Programs, Nikhil Goel, confirmed in a statement that Moore would be working on VTOL vehicles.
Moore's research paper shows his enthusiasm for flying cars. 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.
"The engineer was impressed by Uber's work on the subject, and saw a chance to make the vision he'd originally articulated years ago into something real, in a reasonable time scale", according to TechCrunch. 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.