Melbourne to trial electric flying taxi service, Uber Air

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

Uber today announced Melbourne as the first worldwide test hub for Uber Air, a proposed ride-sharing service allowing commuters to hop on an electric aircraft and blow raspberries at the traffic below.

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.

Regional general manager for Uber in Australia, New Zealand and North Asia Susan Anderson made the announcement at an Uber summit in Washington.

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

"As major cities grow, the heavy reliance on private auto ownership will not be sustainable", said Eric Allison, global head of the firm's aviation division Uber Elevate.

Ms Anderson said Victoria's state government had been "highly supportive" of the plans for the trial.

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.

The trial will begin in 2020, with similar trials carried out in Dallas and Los Angeles as Uber prepares to officially launch its flying taxi venture.

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

The Uber Air services will carry four passengers and a pilot, and will take off and land from designated hubs called "skyports".

It proposed using sites like auto parks roofs and existing helipads to run the service.

Uber has announced the first worldwide city its flying taxis one day might be buzzing over.

"But helicopters are too noisy, inefficient, polluting and expensive for mass-scale use".

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

"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.

"We are curious to understand the role our platform may be able to play in the delivery of Australia's future mobility options and how this could integrate with current ground transport which already includes ridesharing", Scentre chief strategy and business development officer Cynthia Whelan said.

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