One of the most populous cities in Australia is set to become the first worldwide market for Uber Air, beating out cities in Brazil, France, India, and Japan to join Dallas and Los Angeles, as a pilot location for the project. Test flights are to start in 2020 with commercial operations planned for 2023.
"Our vision is that on a daily basis it'll be more economically rational for you to fly than for you to drive", said Allison, on the sidelines of the flying taxi summit, Uber Elevate.
Susan Anderson, regional general manager for Uber Australia, said she expected other Australian cities to adopt the service.
It is envisioned that air ride-sharing will be made possible through a network of "skyports" that will be able to handle as many as 1,000 landings per hours, in a dense space.
Uber Technologies said it will use Australia's second-largest city, Melbourne, as the first worldwide test site for the group's planned flying taxi service.
With Uber Air, the transportation time will only take 10 minutes.
Speaking at the conference, Uber said that once the flying taxi service is launched, an Uber Air ride will be as cheap as its Uber Black service.
One of Uber's electric air taxis.
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Uber said it was partnering with Australian companies Macquarie Capital, Telstra and Westfield's owner and operator, Scentre Group for the pilot program.
If the trial is successful, Uber plans to introduce the service to Sydney, offering flights from the CBD to the Central Coast.
It appears the flying taxis will initially still have pilots, with current design efforts for VTOLs featuring a 150 miles per hour cruise speed and capacity for one pilot and four riders. Riders will push a button and get a flight via Uber Air.
The trial of the Uber Air service will involve a radical new type of aircraft - a drone-like piloted, electric vertical take-off and landing passenger vehicle designed by Uber's manufacturing partners, including Boeing and Bell Helicopters.
Although Anderson said the Victorian government has been "highly supportive", Uber's breakthrough into the state was not met without regulatory troubles.
"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.
The Uber Air service is created to work in tandem with Uber's vehicle service as a "multimodal" option that helps speed passengers to their destinations.
An artist's impression of an Uber skyport. "These vehicles are very low capacity - similar to what a auto could carry - while there are also questions about if these vehicles will create visual clutter in the sky and how environmentally-friendly they are", said Dr Chris De Gruyter from RMIT's Centre for Urban Research.