Uber Picks Melbourne As Test Site For Flying Taxi Service

Daniel Fowler
June 12, 2019

Uber will bring flying taxis to Melbourne as the ridesharing company begins a trial of the service.

Dallas and Los Angeles in the United States will also be pilot cities.

"Australian governments have adopted a forward-looking approach to ridesharing and future transport technology", Anderson said in a statement".

Uber said increased air mobility would help ease traffic congestion in cities.

"India presents challenges with respect to the way we are actually able to operationalise Uber Air in the country and we had some discussions with the aviation authority and several of the state government representatives and it looks promising", added Allison.

"This is a trip that so many travelers make a day, and we see an opportunity to save them a huge amount of time on it", Eric Allison, head of Uber Elevate, told The New York Times.

Anderson said the company hopes to begin test flights next year, with an eye to open the service to commuters from 2023.

"This, coupled with Melbourne's unique demographic and geospatial factors, and culture of innovation and technology, makes Melbourne the ideal third launch city for Uber Air", she said on Wednesday.

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In Melbourne, Uber is working with Westfield shopping centres owner Scentre Group, which has seven centres in the city, to help deliver its service.

The lawsuit was filed at the Victorian Supreme Court by law firm Maurice Blackburn Lawyers, and will cover more than 6,000 drivers, operators, and licence owners across Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland, and Western Australia, making it one of the biggest class actions in Australian history. Uber Copter will also include pickup and drop-off auto service to either the heliport near the Staten Island Ferry or to a helipad near Terminal 8 at Kennedy airport.

Macquarie Capital will partner with Uber Elevate to develop skyports for the vehicles' take off and landing, while Telstra will use 5G to support Uber's technology.

Called Uber Copter, the service will launch on July 9 and offer helicopter rides between Lower Manhattan and Kennedy International Airport.

Uber also displayed the concept Bell Nexus flying quadcopter vehicle unveiled this year, expected to be part of the Uber fleet, and new designs for its "skyports" that will make up the network for the aircraft.

Uber is not the only company experimenting with flying taxis, reminiscent of the mode of transport in the American cartoon "The Jetsons".

A number of aviation companies are now prototyping vertical take-off and land (VTOL) aircraft - essentially helicopters - to be used as part of the Uber Air service.

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