Uber Technologies Inc. plans to start electric flying-taxi services in Melbourne from 2023.
Uber Air will start test flights of the pilotless aircraft in the Australian city from 2020, Uber said in a statement Wednesday.
Melbourne joins Dallas and Los Angeles as pilot locations for the services. The U.S. ride sharing firm had previously chosen Dubai as the first test site outside the United States for its UberAIR service but has delayed the launch in the Middle Eastern city.
The test flights will transport passengers from one of seven Westfield shopping centers in Melbourne to the city’s main international airport. The 19km journey from the central business district to the airport is expected to take 10 minutes by air, compared with the 25 minutes it usually takes by car.
The electric, on-demand air taxis can be ordered by customers through smartphone apps in the same way Uber’s road-based taxi alternatives are hailed.
Uber’s air fleet includes electric jet-powered vehicles - part helicopter, part drone and part fixed-wing aircraft - running multiple small rotors capable of both vertical take-off and landing and rapid horizontal flight.