Economy

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

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

The first test city, originally planned to be Dubai, will now be Melbourne, Australia, as the company announced today.

This week, Uber announced it was adding new aircraft partners to the program, including Pennsylvania-based Jaunt Air Mobility, which will produce a rotor- and fixed-wing light aircraft.

The 19km journey from Melbourne's CBD to Tullamarine airport now takes anywhere from 25 minutes to more than an hour in peak hour by vehicle, but is expected to take just 10 minutes by air.

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

The big unveiling came during the Uber Elevate Summit, the company's conference happening this week in Washington DC that's all about the flying taxi service.

Uber submitted the plan to the Victorian government, arguing mass transit by air could take the pressure off Australia's size and congestion challenges.

Uber said on Tuesday it will begin test flights of the pilotless aircraft in Melbourne and US cities Dallas and Los Angles in 2020 before commercial operations begin in 2023.

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

Uber is working with Nasa and the US Army on its flying taxis and has two aircraft manufacturers - Embraer and Pipistrel Aircraft - also on board.

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Uber claims trips will be priced the same as an UberX ride over the same distance, but we'll see about that.

A number of aviation companies are now prototyping vertical take-off and land (VTOL) aircraft - essentially helicopters - to be used as part of the Uber Air service.

Uber also revealed and air taxi cabin design in collaboration with French engineering group Safran.

This is how Uber imagines its skyports will appear. Riders will push a button and get a flight via Uber Air.

Last month, a class action lawsuit was filed against Uber, on behalf of thousands of Australian taxi and hire auto drivers, for allegedly operating illegally which provided the company with an unfair competitive advantage.

For some reason that we can't fully grasp, people continue to look to flying cars as a valid means of transportation in the future.

"The 19km journey from the CBD to Melbourne airport can take anywhere from 25 minutes to around an hour by vehicle in peak hour, but with Uber Air this will take around 10 minutes", Allison said.

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