Uber has selected Melbourne as the first international market for Uber Air, a flying rideshare service.
Uber Air aims to open up urban air mobility and help alleviate transport congestion on the ground, offering an aerial ride sharing service.
Test flights are due to start from 2020 and plans for commercial operations are to commence from 2023.
Melbourne joins Dallas and Los Angeles as pilot cities for the program.
Uber said its long term vision is for safe quiet electric vehicles transporting tens of thousands of people across cities for the same prices as and UberX trip over the same distance.
“Australian governments have adopted a forward-looking approach to ridesharing and future transport technology. This, coupled with Melbourne’s unique demographic and geospatial factors, and culture of innovation and technology, makes Melbourne the perfect third launch city for Uber Air. We will see other Australian cities following soon after,” Uber Australia, Regional General Manager Susan Anderson said.
“The Victorian Government has been highly supportive, and we look forward to partnering with them to progress into this first international trial for Uber Air in Melbourne,” Mrs. Anderson said.
Uber has also announced partnerships with Australian companies, Macquire, Telstra and Scentre Group, the owner and operator of Westfield in Australia and NZ and will work with key existing partners including Melbourne Airport.
“Uber Air holds enormous potential to help reduce road congestion. For example, the 19 kilometre journey from the CBD to Melbourne airport can take anywhere from 25 minutes to around an hour by car in peak hour but with Uber Air this will take around 10 minutes,” said Eric Allison, the global head of Uber Elevate.
Melbourne Airport will collectively support the infrastructure and telecommunications needed to create a successful urban aviation network.
“As the gateway to Melbourne for tens of millions of travellers each year, we can see fantastic potential for Uber Air in the future. We look forward to continuing this exciting conversation, and working with government, regulators and our local communities to make this happen,” Melbourne Airprot, Chief of Parking and Ground Access Lorie Argus said.
Macquarie Capital, Scentre Group and Telstra will be working over the next 12 months to assess what infrastructure is needed both civil, social, and for network coverage respectively.