Melbourne to trial electric flying taxi service, Uber Air

12 Juin, 2019, 04:51 | Auteur: Auguste Feret
  • Melbourne to trial electric flying taxi service, Uber Air

According to Susan Anderson, Regional General Manager for Uber in Australia, New Zealand and North Asia, Australian governments have adopted a "forward-looking approach to ridesharing and future transport technology" - making the ground-breaking trial possible.

In Melbourne, Uber is working with Westfield shopping centres owner Scentre Group, which has seven centres in the city, to help deliver its service.

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

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.

Testing is set to begin in 2020, with further testing allegedly happening in Dallas and Los Angeles in 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.

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

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.

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"The closest equivalent technology in use today is the helicopter", the paper said.

VTOLs would make use of "autonomy technology" to reduce the risk of operator error.

CASA previously said the project was possible under the existing regulatory framework and could be introduced within five years.

A number of aviation companies are now prototyping vertical take-off and land (VTOL) aircraft - essentially helicopters - to be used as part of the Uber Air service.

The electric air taxis will, in the longer term, be able to transport people across cities for the same price as the rideshare service, UberX, the company said in a statement on Wednesday.

Uber Air has named Melbourne as one of three cities where it will test its flying cars venture.

Uber revealed its commercial flying vehicle plans earlier this year, describing it as the "future of urban innovation".

The local announcement coincides with Uber's Elevate summit in Washington DC.

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