Uber to trial its air taxis in Melbourne

Uber Elevate set to take off in Australia with flying taxi trial in Melbourne

Uber Elevate set to take off in Australia with flying taxi trial in Melbourne

The company's "Uber Elevate" pilot - which will also run in the United States cities of Dallas and Los Angeles - aims to connect transport hubs like airports to central city sites.

Centre for Urban Research expert Chris De Gruyter was sceptical about whether Uber Air can can solve transport problems.

Susan Anderson, regional general manager for Uber Australia, said she expected other Australian cities to adopt the service.

Uber Chopper subsidised $1,000 one-way helicopter flights from Batman Park to Flemington Racecourse during last year's Melbourne Cup Carnival.

Uber also revealed and air taxi cabin design in collaboration with French engineering group Safran.

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

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

"The 19km journey from the CBD to Melbourne airport can take anywhere from 25 minutes to around an hour by auto in peak hour, but with Uber Air this will take around 10 minutes", Allison said.

Anderson said the company hopes to begin test flights next year, with an eye to open the service to commuters from 2023. Uber Copter will also include pickup and drop-off vehicle service to either the heliport near the Staten Island Ferry or to a helipad near Terminal 8 at Kennedy airport.

A large part of Uber's plan to take to the skies involves the development of electric helicopterlike aircraft that will be both ecologically friendly and significantly quieter than traditional helicopters, both due to their lack of noisy turbine engines and because they will use multiple smaller rotors to provide lift, rather than a single large one.

Khosrowshahi said Uber's large user base can help stimulate demand for aerial ridesharing.

He added that "we want a pricing of this service that will be available for the masses versus just the elites".

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. "We think we can do better than the price of UberX".

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