Uber has provided a closer look at how its futuristic Uber Elevate service will work when it begins its testing process in 2020. Test flights were originally meant to start in 2020 in Los Angeles and Dallas, but they will now also take place in Melbourne and if all goes well, Uber could commercially activate its air taxi service as soon as 2023.
Eric Allison, global head of the company’s aviation division Uber Elevate told the BBC, “As major cities grow, the heavy reliance on private car ownership will not be sustainable… Uber Air holds enormous potential to help reduce road congestion.”
The journey from Melbourne central business district to the city’s airport is 19km and has been said to take approximately 10 minutes via Uber Air, which is an hour less than it would take in a car. The plane-like machines are grouped as VTOL’s — Vertical Takeoff and Landing vehicles — and they will be accessible via the Uber app, where users will be picked up and dropped off at specially built “Skyports.”
There will be a number of different VTOL’s available to Uber Elevate clients, ranging from Uber’s own flying vehicle to ones designed by EmbraerX, Karem Aircraft, Pipistrel Vertical Solutions and more. Take a look at the teaser video above and experience Uber Elevate in the air in a 360-degrees VR video below.
In other news, Uber has announced it will start giving helicopter rides around New York City this Summer.