Uber picks Melbourne as third test city for its flying taxi service

Corey Johnson

Enlarge Image Corey Johnson Getty Images

Uber has partnered with Jaunt Air Mobility, Boeing, Embraer, Bell and others to develop eVTOL vehicles for the service.

However, Uber may face some hurdles to get the initiative off the ground, some analysts believe.

Like Uber's auto service, prices will vary based on demand, but the company expects the typical fare to be between $200 and $225 per person.

The service, to be called Uber Air and run by the Uber Elevate division, will rely on small electric aircraft capable of vertical takeoff and landing.

According to Uber, congestion now costs Australia $16.5 billion annually, and this amount is forecasted to rise to about $30 billion by 2030.

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Electric air taxis will begin flying in Melbourne from next year, as a plan by ride-sharing company Uber to start demonstrating the new form of transport.

Uber showcased its new passenger drone vehicle at its Elevate conference in Washington DC on Tuesday.

He said the 19 kilometre journey from Melbourne's central business district to the airport would take some 10 minutes with Uber Air, down from up to an hour by vehicle. Eventually Uber hopes the aircraft will be able to fly themselves.

Other Australian companies involved in helping to provide the infrastructure needed for the pilot include Macquarie Capital and Telstra, as well as Melbourne Airport.

On that, it's worth noting that a train line to Melbourne's airport doesn't exist. Melbourne, of course, will be the first city outside of the United States to take part.

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"Uber Air holds enormous potential to help reduce road congestion".

"These vehicles are very low capacity - similar to what a auto could carry - while there are also questions about if these vehicles will create visual clutter in the sky and how environmentally friendly they are", he said.

"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. The company said that the earliest we would see one in the air would be 2025.

But the rollout of that service is now clouded by safety concerns about increased air traffic in cities, following two accidents in New York City in recent weeks.

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