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Uber names Melbourne as first non-US city for flying car program

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Uber on Tuesday selected Melbourne, Australia, as the first non-US city for its aerial ridesharing service that is expected to launch in 2023, as it unveiled new partners for the ambitious initiative.

Melbourne was named the third official pilot city for Uber Air, joining Dallas and Los Angeles. Test flights are to start in 2020 with commercial operations planned for 2023.

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The news came at the Uber Elevate Summit in Washington, where the California-based ride-hailing giant offered new details on its vision for flying taxis as a way to ease traffic congestion and improve urban mobility.

“Australian governments have adopted a forward-looking approach to ridesharing and future transport technology,” said Susan Anderson, Uber’s manager for the region that includes Australia.

“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.”

Since first announcing its plan for shared aerial transport, Uber has been adding new partners and details for the initiative.

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This week, Uber announced it was adding new aircraft partners to the program, including Pennsylvania-based Jaunt Air Mobility, which will produce a rotor- and fixed-wing light aircraft.

Uber also revealed and air taxi cabin design in collaboration with French engineering group Safran.

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“Together with Safran Cabin, we’ve designed for the first time in history, a bespoke aircraft cabin that is truly mission-driven for aerial ridesharing on Uber Air,” said John Badalamenti, Uber Elevate’s head of design.

Uber also displayed the concept Bell Nexus flying quadcopter vehicle unveiled this year, expected to be part of the Uber fleet, and new designs for its “skyports” that will make up the network for the aircraft.

– Air rides ‘for masses’ –

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The Uber Air service is designed to work in tandem with Uber’s car service as a “multimodal” option that helps speed passengers to their destinations.

The aerial option will be included on the Uber smartphone app that will include ground and air transportation and pool travelers into one aircraft.

Uber last week announced a first step toward the aerial rideshare program, a helicopter service to New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport from lower Manhattan.

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AFP / SAUL LOEB Dara Khosrowshahi, CEO of Uber Technologies, said the forthcoming Uber Air service is expected to be priced “for the masses versus just the elites”

Uber chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi said earlier Tuesday that the helicopters will eventually be replaced “by a generation of electrically powered vertical takeoff and landing vehicles.”

Khosrowshahi said Uber’s large user base can help stimulate demand for aerial ridesharing.

“We want to get the industry moving and designing these vehicles so that they can be available for urban transportation,” he said in an on-stage interview sponsored by the Economic Club of Washington.

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He added that “we want a pricing of this service that will be available for the masses versus just the elites.”

Eric Allison, head of Uber Elevate, told the conference the electric aircraft are “surprisingly efficient” and similar in cost to the standard UberX car service.

“It will be something like $6 per seat mile,” Allison said. “We think we can do better than the price of UberX.”

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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Why was Jeffrey Epstein buying size 5 women’s panties — while in jail?

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The Miami Herald has another bombshell report on Jeffrey Epstein, who died in a Manhattan jail while waiting to stand trial on federal sex crimes charges.

"A decade ago, during a brief stint in Palm Beach County Jail, convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein made an odd purchase at the facility’s store: two pairs of small women’s panties, size 5," the Herald reported Saturday night.

The newspaper noted, "the panties raise questions about why a childless male inmate, accused of sexually abusing girls as young as 14, would be allowed to buy female undergarments so small that they wouldn’t fit an average-sized adult woman."

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White nationalist Republican ridiculed after only 2 people show up for his town hall meeting

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Embattled Rep. Steve King (R-IA) suffered further humiliation on Saturday when only two people showed up for his town hall meeting with Iowa constituents.

King, who was stripped of all committee assignments for his white nationalism, was been an embarrassment for Republicans with his constant racism and misogyny.

A photo of the town hall meeting was posted on Twitter by Reuters photo editor Corinne Perkins.

https://twitter.com/corinne_perkins/status/1162806565109473280

Rep. King was quickly mocked in the comments.

Here's some of what people were saying:

https://twitter.com/sedespres/status/1162811223186006018

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2020 Election

Democrats could flip the Texas state house in 2020 — and reshape the national map

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Blue Texas? Democrats have long dreamt of winning Texas’s 38 electoral votes in the presidential election. That may still be a long shot, but a recent “Texodus” from Congress has given new talk to a political transformation across the Lone Star State that could have massive ramifications down the ballot and for decades to come.

This article was originally posted at Salon.

Four of the state’s GOP members of Congress have announced their retirements in recent weeks, an unusual torrent of departures signaling that a storm is coming. And evidence shows that it’s not just hitting Texas’s federal delegation. It’s coming to Austin, too.

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