Wisk, the air taxi startup that once partnered with Boeing back in 2019, recently revealed its all-new electric autonomous aircraft. The Wisk Aero is its sixth-generation craft design, seats four, and hopes to reshape inner-city travel and skip traffic in the years ahead.
We’ve seen a lot of progress over the last few years regarding electric aircraft, with Joby Aviation recently receiving FAA approval for test flights. However, Wisk is another “autonomous urban air mobility” company trying to do the same.
The company recently unveiled its 6th generation craft with an improved design and many safety features. Wisk said it would seek approval from the Federal Aviation Administration to carry passengers as part of a commercial air taxi service. However, there are still several steps it’ll need to take before getting to that point.
Besides having no pilot inside, the Wisk Aero is unique because it’s an eVTOL (vertical take-off and landing) craft. It takes off or lands vertically, like a helicopter, thanks to six fixed-position electric motors along the back of both wings. Then, there are six more adjustable electric rotors on the front, which help it propel forward upwards of 110-120 knots (138 MPH) and reach altitudes between 2,500 to 4,000 feet.
As for battery life, Wisk claims the craft, in its current form, has a range of 90 miles, making it great for quick inner-city travel thanks to a small wingspan under 50ft wide. Then, the company mentioned it employs fast-charging technology similar to the EV industry to top off the battery in a15 minutes or less. That way, it’ll be fully charged and ready to go when its four passengers get off and another round jump aboard. Here’s what the company had to say regarding safety:
“Through a multifaceted approach—including autonomous flight with human oversight, a simplified design with fewer moving parts, fully redundant systems, and no single point of failure—Wisk’s aircraft is being designed to exceed today’s rigorous aviation safety standards of a one-in-a-billion chance of an accident.”
It sounds like the Wisk Aero is one of the first electric aircraft seeking an FAA Type Certification for a VTOL craft, which should help it reach areas easier than crafts requiring a runway.
For those wondering, the FAA requires aviation companies to get three different certifications before offering commercial service. Those are an FAA safety standard, a production certification, and an air carrier certification. It’s no small task, and currently, there are no electric aircraft in commercial operation.
If everything goes according to plan, Wisk will offer commercial taxi flights in over 20 major global markets within the next five years.
via The Verge