It seems crazy to think of it and far to futuristic, however in 2023 Melbourne will be one of the first three cities globally to host the launch of trialing commercial passenger drone technology. This amazing new idea will be called ‘Uber Air’.

A rendering from Uber of a Skyport landing and departure point. (Uber)

The progressive approach of our Australian government in recognising the benefits of ridesharing allowed Melbourne to be shortlisted from the global list of cities. The other cities participating in the trials will be Dallas, Texas and Los Angeles.

Areal ridesharing transport will be the first of it’s kind with leading aerial technology leaders and ecosystem experts all working together with Uber to develop the initiative. Uber Air vehicles are planned to be safe, quiet and environmentally friendly.

Uber Air partner Karem Aircraft has established the Butterfly aerial vehicle as an option. (Karem Aircraft)

UAS Research Team Co-Leader and Lecturer and Researcher in Aerospace Engineering and Aviation at RMIT University Dr Matthew Marino commented that “we have the technology now that’s proven” it is possible for these drone flights to be possible. However “the biggest hurdle is that there is currently to regulatory framework for electrical aircraft that actually carry passengers, which proves the biggest hurdle to get across.”

Embraer has also partnered with Uber Elevate to develop its aptly named DreamMaker eVTOL vehicle. (Embraer)

Uber Air strives to be all-electric from inception of the passenger technology, separating it from anything that exists today including helicopters. Uber’s Head of Public Policy and Government Affairs in Australia and New Zealand Mitch Cooper says the company’s mission was to “create a safe, scalable aerial rideshare network propelled by vehicles that are quiet, safe and green”.

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