During the Uber’s 3rd annual Uber Elevate Summit in Washington DC, they announced Melbourne, Australia as the first international city to test Uber Air. This is massive for the country, but especially the city.
Melbourne (like Sydney) suffers from brutal traffic congestion and as such, could benefit dramatically from moving to transportation in the air, rather than on our roads.
Uber Air would work very similar to how Uber works today, passengers get in, take the trip, then get out and the payment is taken care of electronically. The big difference is the mode of transport moves from our roads, to our skies.
“Australian governments have adopted a forward-looking approach to ridesharing and future transport technology. This, coupled with Melbourne’s unique demographic and geospatial factors, and culture of innovation and technology, makes Melbourne the perfect third launch city for Uber Air. We will see other Australian cities following soon after.”Uber Australia, Regional General Manager, Susan Anderson
Uber expects the trial to kick off as soon as next year, with full operations set to go live from 2023. While Melbourne is the starting point, Uber have said we can expect other Australian cities to follow soon after. That’s great news to our other cities like Sydney and to a lesser degree Brisbane, Perth and Canberra who all suffer some congestion, but not on the scale of Melbourne and Sydney.
You can watch the full event below.
One of the biggest questions around Uber Air is how you solve for the noise made by these massive people moving drones. It seems from this slide below, shown during the event, that there’s a lot of work going into propeller design to almost eliminate the noise.
As we wait for the approval of Level 4/5 autonomous vehicles on our roads, it will be interesting to see how rapidly the necessary regulation and safety checkboxes can be ticket to enable a service like Uber Air would need.