Monday, 24 June, 2019

Uber Just Announced Melbourne As The First International 'Uber Air' Test Hub

Uber Elevate set to take off in Australia with flying taxi trial in Melbourne Flying Uber trial to take place in Melbourne from 2020
Ginger Lawrence | 12 June, 2019, 07:59

Last month, a class action lawsuit was filed against Uber, on behalf of thousands of Australian taxi and hire auto drivers, for allegedly operating illegally which provided the company with an unfair competitive advantage.

Melbourne will be the first city outside the USA to host trials of Uber Air, a service the company describes as "aerial ridesharing" that will shuttle people from rooftop to rooftop for the price of an UberX.

The Victorian capital is joining Dallas and Los Angeles in a pilot of Uber Air flights from 2020, ahead of commercial operations starting in 2023.

And now with the third market being chosen in Australia the company is aiming to commercially launch Uber Air in the three markets by 2023.

Victorian government assistant treasurer said the trial is an example of the state's innovation and "transformative technologies".

"We are delighted that Melbourne has been chosen as the first global trial city for Uber Air".

Uber plans to eventually deploy a fleet of flying cars to ferry its passengers around urban areas, but while we patiently await the Jetsons-age, the company's Uber Elevate division is launching a new helicopter service in New York City.

Since first announcing its plan for shared aerial transport, Uber has been adding new partners and details for the initiative.

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Uber Air shuttles could soon be a familiar sight in the skies above Melbourne.

The electric, on-demand air taxis can be ordered by customers through smartphone apps in the same way Uber's road-based taxi alternatives are hailed.

Uber has proposed using vehicle park roofs - including those of shopping centres - and existing helipads to run the service.

Uber is working with Nasa and the US Army on its flying taxis and has two aircraft manufacturers - Embraer and Pipistrel Aircraft - also on board.

The air taxis will ultimately be able to carry people across cities for no more than the price of a regular taxi service, and Uber expects a 19km ride from Melbourne Airport to the CBD would take just 10 minutes.

"We want to get the industry moving and designing these vehicles so that they can be available for urban transportation", he said in an on-stage interview sponsored by the Economic Club of Washington.

In announcing Uber Air was coming to Australia, the company announced partnerships with Macquarie, Telstra, and Westfield-operator Scentre Group, and said it would work with existing partners including Melbourne Airport to develop the infrastructure and telecommunications needed to create the aviation network.

"It will be something like $6 per seat mile", Allison said.