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Uber adds Melbourne to flying taxi plans

2019-06-12 14:13 by
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Uber Technologies said it will use Australia's second-largest city, Melbourne, as the first international test site for the group's planned flying taxi service. The test flights will transport passengers from one of seven Westfield shopping centers in Melbourne to the city's main international airport. The 19km journey from the central business district to the airport is expected to take 10 minutes by air, compared with the 25 minutes it usually takes by car.

Uber has partnered with NASA on its flying taxi program, which it calls Elevate, and is one of several companies racing to make aerial vehicles a reality. Other big names in the business include Rolls Royce and Boeing. The firm had previously chosen Dubai as the first test site outside the United States for its UberAIR service but negotiations fell through and prompted the company to look for another site.

According to the company's description of Uber Air, passengers will be able to catch flights from building tops in battery-powered aircraft that land and take off like conventional helicopters. There are four passenger seats, arranged two-by-two. Behind the second row is space for storing luggage. Aside from some electric blue lighting and similarly colored seat belts, that's about it. There aren’t the same kinds of creature comforts you'd find on an airplane since Uber is planning to only use these aircraft for short rides.

Uber in August announced five possible markets to launch its pipedream: Australia, Brazil, France, India, and Japan. It also confirmed that from 2023, customers will be able to get a flight on-demand in Dallas and Los Angeles.

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