- Uber Air won’t be holding any public demonstrations or test flights in Melbourne this year.
- It comes amid coronavirus related restrictions on travel and mass gatherings.
- Melbourne was selected as the first location outside of the US to launch the air passenger service.
- Visit Business Insider Australia’s homepage for more stories.
The coronavirus pandemic has affected Uber Air’s plans in Melbourne.
In June 2019, Uber announced Melbourne as the first location outside of the United States to launch its Uber Air passenger service – designed as a way to reduce traffic congestion. Melbourne joined Dallas, Texas and Los Angeles, California as the pilot cities for Uber Air.
Test flights were slated to begin in 2020 with commercial operations targeted for 2023.
However, with Melbourne being hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic – being under its second round of lockdown, enforcing mandatory face masks and recently recording more than 700 coronavirus cases – Uber has changed its plans.
The company said it won’t be doing any public demonstrations or test flights in Melbourne this year.
Uber Air works with partners to develop and certify eVTOL (electric vertical takeoff and landing) vehicles for its service.
“There are eight partners working to create the types of quiet, electric vehicles that will make aerial ridesharing a success and we have been encouraged by the progress of their advance towards flight test programs prior to COVID-19,” Uber Australia said in a statement.
“However, the restrictions on international travel, quarantines, guidance preventing mass public gatherings and a rolling wave of infections has impacted timelines.”
The Uber Air team will focus on testing out the new technology in the United States first, since that is where most of its vehicle partners are already creating their aircraft and where Uber plans to get its certification.
“All of the Uber vehicle partners are expected to progress initial vehicle certification in their home jurisdictions,” Uber said.
The company added that it “will not speculate” on when it will hold public demonstrations of its new vehicles because of the coronavirus pandemic.
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