Uber‘s ambitious plan to fill the skies with flying taxis appears to be moving ahead, with new cities included in the Uber Air program. The first international market for Uber Air will be Australia. Melbourne will be joining Dallas and Los Angeles as pilot cities for the flying taxis.
Uber indicated the developments at the company’s Elevate (Uber Air) Summit in Washington, revealing plans to start test flights next year and begin commercial operations in 2023.
Australian governments have chosen a forward-looking approach to ridesharing and future transport technology. This, with Melbourne’s unique demographic and geospatial factors, and culture of innovation and technology, makes Melbourne the perfect third launch city for Uber Air.
Uber is not the only firm working on flying taxis, with several startups developing concepts that they hope could offer a solution to overcrowded roads. Two of Uber’s main rivals in the sector are Lilium and Aeromobil, who have separately carried out multiple tests of their self-flying taxis.
Some remain skeptical that any of these companies offer a viable alternative to congestion and heavy traffic in urban areas.
Critics say flying taxis are more prone to accidents and even slight carelessness could result in major accidents. The flying taxis are not only a significant risk to people on the ground but will also create a lot of noise pollution and disturbance. The head of Tesla and SpaceX has his own plans to eliminate traffic by heading down rather than up, through his tunnel-digging venture, appropriately calld The Boring Company.