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Russ Seidel / Flickr CC

Uber's latest high-profile hire is an engineer, formerly of NASA, who will "work with companies and stakeholders" interested in a transportation network of aircraft capable of taking off and landing vertically. In less technical terms: that's flying cars.

The news was first reported by Bloomberg's Brad Stone. The engineer, Mark Moore, told him the company is in the right place to be influential over the nascent market:

If you don't have a business case that makes economic sense, than all of this is just a wild tech game and not really a wise investment.

Key context: Uber isn't building its own flying car yet, and WIRED reported in October that it wasn't currently in the cards. But the company has outlined an ambitious vision of a not-so-distant future where customers would travel to a central facility to get into one of the aircraft. A company official said in a statement that Uber wants to be a "catalyst" to getting the idea — no pun intended — off the ground.

The policy angle: Uber has warned that policymakers and industry should work closely with the communities that would see the effects of a network of flying cars. They identified several areas — like noise pollution and privacy — where dreams of flying cars could collide with reality.

Go deeper

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Senate pulls all-nighter on amendments to COVID relief package

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Democratic leaders struck an agreement with Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) on emergency unemployment insurance late Friday, clearing the way for Senate action on President Biden's $1.9 trillion stimulus package to resume after an hours-long delay.

The state of play: The Senate continued to work through votes on a marathon of amendments overnight into Saturday morning.

The elusive political power of Mexican Americans

Data: Pew Research Center, U.S. Census Bureau; Chart: Michelle McGhee/Axios

Mexican Americans make up the nation's largest Latino group, yet they remain politically outshined by more recently arrived Cuban Americans.

Why it matters: The disparities in political power between Mexican Americans and Cuban Americans reflect the racial, historical, geographical and economic differences within Latino cultures in the U.S.