Imagine coming up with a crazy invention that has the power to transform an industry. That’s what Mark Moore did with “The Puffin”. In 2010, Marck came up with his ‘flying car’ idea for his doctorate at university.
Flying cars have been in science fiction for a century. So what was so special about the Puffin?
Mark designed an electric one-man vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) vehicle which could actually work. He posted an animation of it on Youtube which went viral, hitting over 648,000 views in its first week.
Why did Mark call it the Puffin? He says "If you've ever seen a puffin on the ground, it looks very awkward, with wings too small to fly, and that's exactly what our vehicle looks like.”
"But it's also apparently called the most environmentally friendly bird, because it hides its poop. So the vehicle is environmentally friendly because it essentially has no emissions. Also, puffins tend to live in solitude, only ever coming together on land to mate, and ours is a one-person vehicle.”
Mark’s invention inspired Google’s Larry Page to look seriously at flying cars. Since then, Larry has invested over $100 million of his own money in flying car companies.
This month - in the year of the Rooster - flying cars have gone from science fiction to science fact. Early this week, Dubai announced it would have flying cars by this summer, partnering with Chinese flying car pioneer, Ehang.
Yesterday, the world’s first commercial flying car, the Liberty (from Dutch company PAL-V) went on sale for $400,000, with deliveries beginning next year.
Airbus is also getting in on the action, saying they will test flying cars by the end of 2017. Their VTOL vehicle is modelled on Mark’s paper.
Is Mark’s vision of flying cars taking over from cars a near reality? I met someone when I was in LA two weeks ago who thinks so. His name is Jeff Holden, Head of Product Development at Uber.
Jeff believes flying cars will take over from cars sooner than we think, and Uber has recently launched “Uber Elevate” as their flying car division.
What about Mark? Where is he now?
Mark just got a new job last Friday, as Uber’s “Director of Aviation”.
Who would have thought that an invention written for a thesis, and a viral video, would lead to spearheading the opportunity to spearhead a revolution in how we travel?
What crazy idea are you putting off?
Maybe it’s time to get it back on the drawing board. Because in a world of flying cars, anything is possible.
“It always seems impossible until it's done.” ~ Nelson Mandela