Uber's plan to trial an aerial taxi service in Melbourne is technologically feasible but needs to be well regulated to avoid "absolute chaos", according to a civil engineering expert..
The global ridesharing giant's Uber Air pilot — which will also run in the US cities of Dallas and Los Angeles — aims to connect transport hubs like airports to central city sites.
The rideshare company said test flights were due to start from 2020 and plans were for commercial operations to begin from 2023.
Jake Whitehead, a University of Queensland researcher who specialises in transport, said the timeline was achievable from a technological perspective.
"We are very close to the point that battery technologies can support these kinds of smaller vehicles," Dr Whitehead said.
"What will be the challenge is the regulation.
"I'd hate to see us be in a position where it's a repeat of Uber ground vehicles where governments aren't adequately prepared for this technology, and aren't proactively working with these companies to look at how to make sure that we can benefit from this technology, and not end up in a situation where it's absolute chaos."
Dr Whitehead said Uber's "extremely aggressive" approach to entering new markets in the past should prompt governments to think carefully about what regulations are needed to preserveliveability.
"The reality is there are some downsides to this technology if it's a free-for-all and there are no rules in place."
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