OREANDA-NEWSThe American company Uber will launch the Uber Air service (air taxi) in the Australian city of Melbourne. It is reported by the channel ABC, citing the company's statement. According to The Guardian, air taxi will be launched in two more American cities - Dallas (Texas) and Los Angeles (California).

It's noted that Melbourne has bypassed the cities of Brazil, France, India and Japan, which were also considered to launch a new service. The company clarified that test flights will begin in 2020, a full-scale commercial launch is scheduled for 2023. So, passengers will move from roof to roof on a network of landing sites called "Skyports". The service will work using the Uber application. The air taxi will take off and land vertically. At the initial stage, such taxis will be managed by pilots, but in the future it is supposed to use drones. Uber has already appealed to the Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) to discuss the legislative regulation of the operation of air taxis.

The representative of Uber said that Uber Air will help reduce traffic jams, which cost the Australian budget $ 16.5 billion a year. RMIT University expert Matthew Marino said that air taxis are potentially safer than unmanned vehicles. “While a car without a driver will encounter obstacles on the road, such as pedestrians on their mobile phones or other vehicles, the air taxi won't have such obstacles”, he explained. At the same time, the expert of the Center for Urban Studies, Chris de Gruiter, called several possible drawbacks to the new service: low throughput, visual confusion in the sky, environmental damage and empty mileage.

Experts point out several barriers for an air taxi: the need to create an economical electric motor and batteries, which will last for a sufficiently long flight, as well as the development of air traffic control systems, collision avoidance systems and noise control.