Uber is elevating its UberAir pilot program to include Melbourne, Australia

Darnell Taylor
June 12, 2019

Uber has really doubled down on this idea, having already named Los Angeles and Dallas as pilot cities for its UberAir aerial rideshare program, announced on Tuesday that it is adding a third city: Melbourne, Australia.

Dallas and Los Angeles in the U.S. will also be pilot cities.

'Australian governments have adopted a forward-looking approach to ridesharing and future transport technology, ' she said.

Last year, Uber revealed the worldwide cities it was considering for launching the aviation project.

Uber's general manager for Australia, New Zealand and North Asia, Susan Anderson, said that the Victorian state government had "been highly supportive" of the proposal. The 19km journey from the central business district to the airport is expected to take 10 minutes by air, compared with the 25 minutes it usually takes by vehicle.

Uber Air is meant to start commercial operations 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.

The announcement was made at the company's Elevate summit in Washington after sealing the deal with Melbourne Airport and companies Macquarie Capital, Scentre Group and Telstra.

Build-A-Bear hosting 'Pay Your Age' day in June
In the "frequently asked questions" section of the website , the company acknowledged changes in this year's event. Once the ticket is in hand, you can redeem them at Build-A-Bear Workshops between June 24 and 28.

The rideshare company has been a disruptor to traditional taxi services in Australia and is now facing a class action lawsuit from taxi drivers.

Uber's flying taxi concept has been around for several years, under the name Uber Air.

The Uber Air service is created to work in tandem with Uber's auto service as a "multimodal" option that helps speed passengers to their destinations.

Uber submitted the plan to the Victorian government, arguing mass transit by air could take the pressure off Australia's size and congestion challenges.

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

This calculus has something to do with "autonomous scale manufacturing" of the helicopters, and increased use of them for heli-pooling.

It had taken the state almost three years to decide how to legislate ride-hailing services such as Uber, announcing back in September 2015 that it was preparing to regulate the service amid concerns from the local taxi industry.

The trial of the Uber Air service will involve a radical new type of aircraft - a drone-like piloted, electric vertical take-off and landing passenger vehicle designed by Uber's manufacturing partners, including Boeing and Bell Helicopters.

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