Published: Wed, June 12, 2019
Markets | By Otis Pena

Uber selects Melbourne as flying taxi pilot city

Uber selects Melbourne as flying taxi pilot city

Melbourne will be the first city outside the U.S. 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 company said it planned to start test flights in 2020, with commercial operations at its test cities planned for 2023.

Australia was on a shortlist announced at the 2018 summit alongside Brazil, France, India and Japan. VTOLs would make use of "autonomy technology" to reduce the risk of operator error.

Melbourne has been selected by Uber as a pilot city for its flying taxi service Uber Air.

Uber says it plans to eventually offer Uber Copter service in other cities.

The U.S. ride sharing firm had previously chosen Dubai as the first test site outside the United States for its UberAIR service but reopened its request for proposals last month after launch delays in the Middle Eastern city.

The company revealed the design for its flying taxi cabin, which was built in partnership with Safran Cabin and is created to seat up to four passengers.

Macquarie's role would be around "the development and electrification of the skyports that will support" Uber's air taxis.

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Uber also announced it will be partnering with Telstra, Scentre Group and Macquarie to support the infrastructure required to launch the surface.

One of Uber's flying cars could soon be flying you across Melbourne.

To get these craft designed, built and approved by governmental agencies within its highly truncated time frame, Uber has partnered with several established aerospace companies, including Boeing subsidiary Aurora Flight Sciences, EmbraerX, Pipistrel Vertical Solutions and Bell.

There are plenty of legal hurdles for Uber to navigate before its air service takes off.

"Australian governments have adopted a forward-looking approach to ridesharing and future transport technology", she said. "But we need to prove to people that this technology can be as safe as helicopters, which regularly fly in our cities", he said.

"I'd hate to see us be in a position where it's a repeat of Uber ground vehicles where governments aren't adequately prepared for this technology, and aren't proactively working with these companies to look at how to make sure that we can benefit from this technology, and not end up in a situation where it's absolute chaos", Jake Whitehead, a University of Queensland researcher, told ABC.

This is how Uber imagines its skyports will appear.

"These vehicles are very low capacity - similar to what a auto could carry".

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