Uber's first air-travel market outside of the United States will be Melbourne, Australia

Uber austrlia passenger drone flightUber

  • Uber will launch passenger air services in Melbourne, Australia, the company said Tuesday.
  • The city will be the third, after Dallas, Texas, and Los Angeles, California, in the US, to get the pilot projects.
  • Uber also unveiled its first passenger drone prototypes at a conference this week. See those here.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

WASHINGTON, DC - Uber's first air-travel market outside of the United States will be in Melbourne, Australia, the company announced Tuesday.

Test flights will begin in 2020 with commercial operations happening by 2023, the company said. Melbourne will be the first international city to join Dallas, Texas, and Los Angeles, California, as pilot cities.

"Australian governments have adopted a forward-looking approach to ridesharing and future transport technology," Susan Anderson, Uber's general manager for Australia, New Zealand, and North Asia, said in a press release.

"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. We will see other Australian cities following soon after."

Uber is touting the urban air mobility offering as a way to help alleviate traffic congestion, which it estimates costs the country $16.5 billion annually. By 2030, Uber says, that cost could hit $30 billion.

"As major cities grow, the heavy reliance on private car ownership will not be sustainable," Eric Allison, head of Uber Elevate, said in a press release. "Uber Air holds enormous potential to help reduce road congestion. For example, the 19 kilometre journey from the CBD to Melbourne airport can take anywhere from 25 minutes to around an hour by car in peak hour but with Uber Air this will take around 10 minutes."

More from Uber's Elevate conference:

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