Uber Just Announced Melbourne As The First International 'Uber Air' Test Hub

Flying Uber trial to take place in Melbourne from 2020

The test flights are scheduled for 2020, while commercial operations are set to kick off in 2023.

Centre for Urban Research expert Chris De Gruyter was sceptical about whether Uber Air can can solve transport problems. It wants to ease traffic congestion on the ground.

The electric aircraft will, in the longer term, be able to fly people across cities for the same price as the auto ride-share service UberX.

The service - which will also be piloted in Dallas and Los Angeles - will link airports with central city locations.

Uber on Tuesday selected Melbourne, Australia, as the first non-US city for its aerial ridesharing service that is expected to launch in 2023, as it unveiled new partners for the ambitious initiative.

Another deal inked with Australian telecommunications giant Telstra will develop the necessary network infrastructure, while a deal with Scentre Group which operates Westfield shopping complexes will provide skyport sites, meaning nipping down to the shop could take on a whole new meaning.

"Telstra is excited to be part of a truly momentous point in time for Melbourne on the world stage".

One of Uber's electric air taxis.

Scentre Group, meanwhile, has jumped on board as an infrastructure partner.

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Uber Elevate has also announced that they will soon start their testing outside the United States of America in Melbourne, Australia.

"Uber Air isn't going to help with managing our urban transport problems".

"Australian governments have adopted a forward-looking approach to ridesharing and future transport technology".

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

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 planned air fleet includes electric jet-powered vehicles - part helicopter, part drone and part fixed-wing aircraft - running multiple small rotors capable of both vertical take-off and landing and rapid horizontal flight.

The company revealed the design for its flying taxi cabin, which was built in partnership with Safran Cabin and is created to seat up to four passengers.

The lawsuit was filed at the Victorian Supreme Court by law firm Maurice Blackburn Lawyers, and will cover more than 6,000 drivers, operators, and licence owners across Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland, and Western Australia, making it one of the biggest class actions in Australian history.

Uber's first earnings report showed the USA firm posted a $1bn (£790m) loss, as it faced strong competition in its ride-hailing business, and incurred extra costs related to its Uber Eats delivery service.

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