Uber unveiled its first international pilot city for Uber Air and announced development partners and architecture firms of its skyports for its future air taxi network at the Uber Elevate Summit yesterday afternoon in Washington, D.C. Melbourne, Australia, will be its first international and third pilot city for Uber Air, joining Los Angeles and Dallas-Fort Worth.
Test flights in Melbourne are expected to commence in 2020 followed by commercial operations in 2023. “Australian governments have adopted a forward-looking approach to ridesharing and future transport technology,” Uber regional general manager for Australia, New Zealand, and North Asia Susan Anderson said. “This, coupled with Melbourne’s unique demographic and geospatial factors, and culture of innovation and technology, makes Melbourne the perfect third launch city for Uber Air.”
Global real estate and lifestyle firm Related Companies will join Hillwood, a Perot company, as a skyport development partner for Uber. Related is collaborating with Uber on a skyport at Related’s 240-acre Santa Clara, California, development to provide aerial ridesharing to Bay Area residents. Hillwood is the developer of AllianceTexas, a 26,000-acre master-planned development and inland port north of Fort Worth that is home to Fort Worth Alliance Airport, BNSF Railway’s Alliance Intermodal Facility, FedEx Southwest Regional Sort Hub, and Amazon Air’s newest regional air hub.
Uber also announced that it will partner with eight architecture and engineering firms that have conceptualized 16 different skyport—both retrofit and new construction—designs. The firms are Beck, BOKA Powell, Corgan, Gensler, Humphreys & Partners Architects, Mithun, Pickard Chilton + ARUP, and SHoP.