Economy

Flying Uber trial to take place in Melbourne from 2020

Flying Uber trial to take place in Melbourne from 2020”

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.

"This, coupled with Melbourne's unique demographic and geospatial factors, and culture of innovation and technology, makes Melbourne the ideal third launch city for UberAir".

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

Uber Air is meant to start commercial operations from 2023.

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

The Melbourne government has so far been supportive of the trial.

Victorian Government Assistant Treasurer Robin Scott said the Uber Air trial plays up the state's leadership in "transformative technologies".

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.

One of Uber's electric air taxis. 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. "The closest equivalent technology in use today is the helicopter", the company has previously observed.

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

Uber Air plans to use small and electric aircraft - able to land and take-off vertically - to connect airports and other transport hubs with CBDs, limiting traffic congestion.

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.

German company Volocopter is set to test its own drone-based vehicles in Singapore later this year.

"The expectation is, subject to the confirmation through the appropriate regulatory authorities as to safety and airspace access, there will be a capacity to take Uber Air to the airport long before Melbourne airport rail is up and running", Mr Pallas said.

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



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