Islamabad: Ridesharing giant Uber working to create “first world’s aerial rideshare network plans to launch trials of its flying cars next year in Melbourne. The company is working with five aircraft manufacturers that also include Boeing, for the future rides.
Uber plans to test flights in 2020 whereas commercial operations will kick off in 2023. “We want to make it possible for people to push a button and get a flight,” Eric Allison, the global head of Uber Elevate, said on Wednesday.
Melbourne is the third city flagged by Uber to launch new taxi service. This is one of the most populous cities in Australia that is going to become the first international market for Uber Air. It will be beating out cities in Brazil, France, India, and Japan to join Dallas and Los Angeles, as a pilot location for the project.
The aerial route will cover 19 kilometers from the Central Business District (CBD) to Melbourne Airport. It will take around 10 minutes compared to the usual journey, taking from 25 minutes to about an hour. The flight is said to cost less than $90, about the same as a trip in a luxury Uber Black car.
The aerial taxi service is set to be launched even sooner than the long-awaited rail link to Melbourne Airport. The rail line will link the air hub to the Melbourne CBD by 2031.
According to the Uber Air project, riders can take a special vertical takeoff and landing aircraft (VTOL) which can travel between ‘skyports’ capable of handling up to 1,000 landings per hour.
However, Uber may face some hurdles to get the initiative off the ground, some analysts believe. For example, lack of proper regulations, obtaining safety certification, and approval for air routes, as well as building the infrastructure for the project.
“I’d hate to see us be in a position where it’s a repeat of Uber ground vehicles where governments aren’t adequately prepared for this technology, and aren’t proactively working with these companies to look at how to make sure that we can benefit from this technology, and not end up in a situation where it’s absolute chaos,” Jake Whitehead, a University of Queensland researcher, told ABC.NT