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. The vehicles would
be capable of providing a speedy alternative to the dreary morning
Moore’s research (PDF) into so-called VTOL — short for vertical
takeoff and landing, or more colloquially, flying cars — inspired
at least one billionaire technologist. After reading the white
paper, Google co-founder Larry Page secretly started and financed
two Silicon Valley startups, Zee Aero and Kitty Hawk, to develop
the technology, Bloomberg Businessweek reported last summer.
Now Moore is leaving the confines of the U.S. National Aeronautics
and Space Administration, where he has spent the last 30 years, to
join one of Google’s rivals: Uber Technologies Inc.
I don’t think it’s right to call these things “flying cars”, but man, whatever we wind up calling them, what an audacious plan.