The Australian city of Melbourne will join Dallas and Los Angeles as pilot cities for Uber Air.
Susan Anderson, regional general manager for Uber in Australia, New Zealand, and North Asia, announced the decision on June 11 at the Uber Elevate Summit in Washington, D.C. Now in its third year, the annual summit is devoted to Uber’s vision for widespread deployment of eVTOL air taxis in urban centers.
“Since we entered the market in 2012, Australians have embraced Uber wholeheartedly. Today, over 3.8 million Aussies regularly use Uber as a reliable way to get from A to B, and governments across the country have recognized the important role ridesharing plays in the future of transport for our cities,” Anderson stated.
“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.
“The State Government of Victoria, Australia, has been highly supportive, and we look forward to partnering with them to progress into this first international trial for Uber Air in Melbourne,” she added.
Uber also announced related partnerships with several Australian companies, including the investment bank and financial services company Macquarie Capital; the telecommunications provider Telstra; and Scentre Group, owner and operator of Westfield shopping centers in Australia and New Zealand.
Macquarie will partner with Uber on the development and electrification of skyports for Uber’s air taxis, as well as determining the best market structures and models for this infrastructure. Telstra will work with Uber to assess what network infrastructure, connectivity requirements, and other capabilities will be needed to support airspace mobility in urban centers.
Meanwhile, Scentre Group will work with Uber as a preferred infrastructure partner under an agreement that recognizes the strategic locations of its Westfield shopping centers. Uber also intends to work with existing partners including Melbourne Airport.
“Our partnership with government and business is a significant part of the Uber story in Australia. We will continue to work with communities and governments to ensure that we create an urban aviation rideshare network that is safe, quiet, environmentally conscious and supports multi-modal transport options,” said Anderson.
At the Elevate Summit, Mark Moore, Uber’s director of engineering, aircraft systems, expressed confidence that Uber will be starting test flights in its pilot cities from 2020, and commercial operations in those markets from 2023.