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"Uber Elevate" wants to study the obstacles faced by flying cars.

Uber Technologies, Inc. has hired former NASA engineer Mark Moore to head up its aviation engineering department. That's right; Uber is starting to get serious about flying cars. Don't get too excited yet, though. Uber hasn't actually started building a flying machine you can park in your driveway. For the time being, the company is merely exploring the obstacles in place that would need to be overcome in order for such a project to--forgive us--get off the ground.

Imagine a cross between Iron Man's suit and your run-of-the-mill amateur videographer's drone. Moore's research eschews the somewhat conventional vision most people have for personalized flying transport. Where most people would expect something that can double as both a car and a plane, Moore's concept is based on vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) technology. VTOL is perhaps best known from its utilization in the V-22 Osprey Marine transport plane pictured above.

According to Bloomberg, Moore's ideas have already made waves in Silicon Valley.

For now, though, Uber simply wants to come up with ways of overcoming the major hurdles that currently stand in the way of z-axis personal transportation. Some appear almost trivial (the use of electrical drive to reduce noise and vibration, for example); some seem nearly insurmountable (relaxing regulations to allow for increased individual air traffic, for starters).

So while Uber may not be quite ready to build a car just yet, Moore's hiring may be a significant step forward for seven-year-old self's dream come true.

Photo credit: Boeing.