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Flying taxi in Delhi, Mumbai soon? Well, Uber's top boss is interested

12 June 2019

Uber plans to launch an advanced "flying taxi" service between Melbourne CDB and Melbourne Airport in 2020, whisking business travellers and other time-pressed souls between city rooftop and airport landing pad in 10 minutes for less than $100.

"Australian governments have adopted a forward-looking approach to ridesharing and future transport technology", said Susan Anderson, regional general manager for Uber in Australia, New Zealand and North Asia.

Uber said increased air mobility would help ease traffic congestion in cities.

Uber expects the second-most popular route will be between Melbourne and Geelong, a 75km trip that takes over an hour by auto but would be cut to less than 20 minutes by air.

Victorian government assistant treasurer said the trial is an example of the state's innovation and "transformative technologies".

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An Uber Air flight from the Melbourne CBD to the airport would cost about $86, about $20 more than using a regular taxi.

Macquarie's role would be around "the development and electrification of the skyports that will support" Uber's air taxis.

Uber has announced the first global city its flying taxis one day might be buzzing over.

The ridesharing service operator also struck partnerships with Macquarie Capital, Telstra, Westfield owner Scentre Group, and Melbourne Airport.

Melbourne will join Los Angeles and Dallas as pilot cities for the program, with test flights beginning in 2020 ahead of plans for a full commercial operation from 2023.

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"This, coupled with Melbourne's unique demographic and geospatial factors, and culture of innovation and technology, makes Melbourne the flawless third launch city for Uber Air", she said on Wednesday.

The rideshare company has been a disruptor to traditional taxi services in Australia and is now facing a class action lawsuit from taxi drivers. Uber Copter will also include pickup and drop-off vehicle service to either the heliport near the Staten Island Ferry or to a helipad near Terminal 8 at Kennedy airport.

The pitch for Uber Air is to reduce road congestion.

Uber is not the only company experimenting with flying taxis, reminiscent of the mode of transport in the American cartoon "The Jetsons".

A large part of Uber's plan to take to the skies involves the development of electric helicopterlike aircraft that will be both ecologically friendly and significantly quieter than traditional helicopters, both due to their lack of noisy turbine engines and because they will use multiple smaller rotors to provide lift, rather than a single large one.

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Flying taxi in Delhi, Mumbai soon? Well, Uber's top boss is interested