Uber Air flying taxi service to be trialled in Melbourne

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

Flying Uber trial to take place in Melbourne from 2020

Uber spokesman Eric Allison said the concept had the potential to reduce traffic congestion which costs the Australian economy an estimated $16.5bn a year.

Uber Air expects to expand into other Australian cities.

"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".

"Australian governments have adopted a forward-looking approach to ridesharing and future transport technology", said Susan Anderson, regional general manager for Uber in Australia, New Zealand and North Asia.

Melbourne will join Dallas and Los Angeles in the United States in offering Uber Air flights.

The test flights will transport passengers from one of seven Westfield shopping centers in Melbourne to the city's main global airport.

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 plans to eventually deploy a fleet of flying cars to ferry its passengers around urban areas, but while we patiently await the Jetsons-age, the company's Uber Elevate division is launching a new helicopter service in New York City.

Anderson said the company hopes to begin test flights next year, with an eye to open the service to commuters from 2023.

The plan is for the electric aircraft, accredited by CASA, to take off and land vertically from a network of landing and take-off pads dubbed "skyports". 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.

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

Cynthia Whelan, chief strategy officer at Scentre Group, which owns and operates Westfield shopping centres, said the announcement "recognises the strategic locations of our Westfield centres, which are regarded as integral social infrastructure due to their close proximity to customers, communities and transport hubs".

"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.

"Together with Safran Cabin, we've designed for the first time in history, a bespoke aircraft cabin that is truly mission-driven for aerial ridesharing on Uber Air", said John Badalamenti, Uber Elevate's head of design.

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