Uber has announced that their first flying taxi service would be available in the international market of Australia. They have chosen Melbourne as third pilot city for executing their air taxi program after Dallas and Los Angeles. Trial flights would begin from 2020. Commercially, the flights would start operating from 2023. Many companies are on the way to develop flying taxis as a medium for transportation in future. Uber has mentioned that by increasing air transport, traffic congestion on roads in cities would reduce.
Eric Allison, global chief of Uber’s aviation division Uber Elevate commented that with the growth of cities, excessive dependence on private car ownership would be non-sustainable. He also said that Uber Air has a huge capability in lessening road traffic. He also gave an estimate of time save. The general time consumed for the 19 kilometer journey from Melbourne’s prime business district to the city’s airport generally takes till 60 minutes by car whereas Uber Air would take hardly 10 minutes.
Currently, Uber has been working with the US Army and NASA on the flying taxis. They have two manufacturers of aircraft – Embraer and Pipistrel Aircraft also working along with them. In 2018, Uber had said they would open a laboratory in Paris for developing the taxis. This has come at a difficult time after the unpleasant stock market beginning during May 2019. First earnings report of Uber displayed a loss of $1 billion because of constant competition in the business and extra costs levied in relation to delivery service of Uber Eats.
However, Uber is not the sole company trying to initiate flying taxis in the market. Other tech firms are competing to build the first flying taxi. Airbus and several other startups have also begun the work of testing flying taxis driven by the customers themselves. Dubai has already carried out the first trial flight of drone taxi back in 2017. Google founder Larry Page has provided funds to a certain company who has recently revealed an electric flying taxi which is self driven and goes up to the speed 180 km/h.