Telstra will be a part of an innovative project with Uber to build a future urban aviation transport system in the city of Melbourne, using our leading mobile network infrastructure and technology expertise.

We are excited to support Uber in its efforts to explore innovative transport solutions, and we’re proud to have our world headquarters of Melbourne be the third city in the world to join Uber’s international pilot program for Uber Air.

As a partner for Uber Air testing in Melbourne over the next 12 months, we’ll contribute our expertise in network infrastructure and evaluate the connectivity requirements for a future connected aviation transport system in an urban environment.

Today, 3 in 4 Melburnians rely solely on their car to get to work, which can cause significant delays along the city’s key routes and means Melbourne already has congestion levels on par with the world’s busiest cities like New York and Rome. With the population of the surrounding region set to double to 8 million people by 2050, Melbourne is a perfect testing ground for Uber Air.

Uber Air is an ambitious initiative from Uber, taking the company’s hallmark approach to personalised on-demand mobility through its technology platform to the skies using a new class of electric vertical take-off & landing (eVTOL) aircraft. Australia already has a progressive attitude to the concept of ride-sharing, with nearly 4 million customers regularly using Uber to get from A to B, and a government and regulatory environment supportive of innovation.

We are excited to be part of a truly momentous point in time for Melbourne on the world stage. Our network strength and coverage, including our 5G leadership, along with our ongoing work on drones and related standards will support Uber’s incredible technology and innovation to develop a service we have all imagined would one day be possible.

We will be working closely with Uber over the next 12 months to assess what network infrastructure, connectivity requirements and other capabilities would be required to support airspace mobility in urban centres. It is a testament to Telstra’s network and technology capability that we are part of this exciting future.

As we continue to push boundaries with our long-range IoT network capability and our ongoing 5G network roll-out around Australia, our own experiments with drones and mobility through our muru-D startup accelerator, and our partnerships to develop a safe and secure ecosystem for Australia’s low-altitude airspace, we are uniquely positioned to work with Uber to begin the development of Uber Air in Melbourne. 5G will be essential to support the quickly growing number of IoT-connected devices joining our network in the coming years, bringing with it greater bandwidth as well as increased capacity, security and reliability.

We have always said that 5G is bigger than just one ‘killer app’, and that there are many use cases for our new network that we have not yet imagined. This partnership with Uber to investigate and develop the connectivity underpinning Uber Air is another example of the transformative potential of technology in all areas of our lives.