“We will see other Australian cities following soon after,” Susan Anderson, Uber’s regional manager for Australia, said at the company’s annual flying car conference in Washington, D.C.
Melbourne will be the third city to host trials of Uber’s flying taxis, after Dallas, Texas, and Los Angeles, California. The electric taxis will be flown by a pilot.
Even as it works on developing autonomous, electric flying vehicles — which are still several years away — Uber is already taking its service to the skies in other ways.
The company will start a helicopter service on July 9 from Manhattan to JFK Airport. It says customers will save an hour of travel time during the afternoon rush hour by buying a roughly $200 ticket on the eight-minute flight.
But the rollout of that service is now clouded by safety concerns about increased air traffic in cities, following two accidents in New York City in recent weeks.
“For us, it underscores the need to make safety the absolute bedrock of everything we do,” said Eric Allison, Uber’s head of Elevate.
Safety will also be a key concern for Uber in Australia, where it currently has nearly 4 million customers of its regular ride-hailing service.
“We will continue to work with communities and governments to ensure that we create an urban aviation rideshare network that is safe, quiet [and] environmentally conscious,” Anderson said.
Matt McFarland contributed to this report.