Melbourne to lead Uber Air pilot


Uber's goal is to begin testing next year and make aerial ride-hailing available to riders in 2023, its first Uber Air cities being Dallas-Forth Worth and Los Angeles.

The service relies on electric vertical take-off and landing vehicles (eVTOL) drones with space for four passengers and their "personal bags and backpacks".

In fact, the Government expects Victorians to be taking an Uber Air to the airport before they will be able to catch a train. That's a 12-mile journey that typically takes 25 minutes or so by auto - with a flying taxi, it'll only take 10 minutes.

Treasurer Tim Pallas said the Victorian Government would support the venture, but not financially, and alongside Civil Aviation Authority and other key bodies.

Uber's Australian regional manager Susan Anderson praised regulators for their "forward-looking approach to ride-sharing and future transport technology" in a statement circulated on Wednesday.

Melbourne will be the first city outside the United States to host trials of Uber Air, a service the company describes as "aerial ridesharing" that will shuttle people from rooftop to rooftop for the price of an UberX.

"We are looking for cities with aspirational vision who are investing in their transportation systems and wish to bring Uber Air to market for their residents as quickly as possible".

Restrictions on Uber and Lyft will increase both evening rush hour speeds and driver pay, says New York City's mayor.

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

"Uber's technology is changing the way people move around their cities - from bikes to pooled rides, we are always looking for ways to reduce the need for private auto ownership".

Inner city Skyports could open at Westfield shopping centres, Scentre Group's chief strategy and business development officer Cynthia Whelan indicated today. It also wants rides to "cost as little as an Uber X ride" - we'd suggest the days of low-priced eVTOL travel are a long way off, though.

"As different VTOL [vertical take-off and landing] models are developed, we will have a better sense of which option makes the most sense, but automated technology will certainly play a large role as it now does in most modern air transportation", the spokesperson said.

"Not only is the mayor's policy hurting app drivers by forcing them to pay exorbitant fees to rent a auto, but he has proposed nothing to fix the current medallion system that only benefits lenders and taxi insiders", Uber said in a statement.