Air taxi startup Wisk Aero revealed its sixth-generation aircraft, an all-electric four-seater that can fly without a mortal pilot.
The Boeing-backed company stated it would pursue approval from the Federal Aviation Administration to carry passengers as the region of a commercial air taxi service.
Wisk Aero was formed in 2019 as a joint venture between Kitty Hawk and Boeing, the flying taxi business bankrolled by Google co-founder Larry Page that lately shut down.
It is in ethnicity to become the first so-called Advanced Air Mobility company to acquire the green glare from the FAA for passenger testing.
The Boeing-backed startup expects FAA certification to authorize it to launch the first air taxi startup, but the process has been confirmed to be slow.
Wisk claims its sixth-generation aircraft is the first electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) candidate for type certification.
Wisk’s aircraft attributes six front rotors, each with five blades, that can tilt horizontally or vertically, and six rear rotors that each consist of two edges and remain fixed in a vertical position. The company says it holds a cruising speed of 120 knots, 140 kilometers with reserves, and can fly at 2,500 – 4,000 feet above the ground.
They’ve attracted funding from several established companies, including Hyundai, Toyota, Airbus, Boeing, Bell, and Uber. As a result, analysts predict the flying taxi market could grow to $150 billion in revenue by 2035.
Before launching a commercial service, aviation companies need to receive three types of certifications under FAA rules. Type certification means the aircraft satisfies all the FAA’s design and safety standards; production certification is the permission to begin fabricating the plane, and air carrier certification represents the company can officially conduct commercial air taxi services.
Of course, severe obstacles remain before Wisk or any other company launch a commercial service. The power-to-weight ratio is a massive challenge for electric flight. Energy density — the quantity of energy stored in a given system — is the critical metric, and today’s batteries don’t hold enough energy to get most planes off the ground. To consider it out: jet fuel offers us about 43 times more power than a battery, just as heavy.
Wisk aims to one day deliver an intercity flying taxi service that can be summoned with an app, like Uber or Lyft. The plan is not to have a pilot on board; instead, it will be flown mainly by an autopilot system, with supervision from a human pilot situated remotely. The aircraft would theoretically take off and land from so-called vertiports located on the rooftops of buildings.
The company wants to launch an air taxi service within the successive five years. At that point, it predicts conducting 14 million flights annually in around 20 major global markets.
Air taxis, sometimes misidentified as “flying cars,” are essentially helicopters without the loud, polluting gas motors though they certainly have their unique noise profile. In addition to Wisk, companies like Volocopter, Ehang, Joby Aviation, and Archer have claimed they are on the cusp of launching services that will eventually scale up nationwide.
There have been multiple demonstrations of battery-powered flight, but no electric aircraft are in commercial operation anywhere in the globe.