Autonomous Passenger Transport Aircraft Begins Trials

By Mike Ball / 11 Apr 2021

WIsk autonomous air taxi

Urban air mobility (UAM) firm Wisk has begun a Transport Trial with its all-electric, self-flying air taxi under the New Zealand Government’s broader Airspace Integration Trial Programme (AITP). These initial trials are being conducted with the aim of beginning the implementation phase later this year.

Wisk signed a memorandum of understanding with the New Zealand Government to establish the Transport Trial under the broader AITP, and since then both parties have been undertaking detailed planning of a highly structured and integrated program. Wisk will also be calling on the services of unmanned aerial system (UAS) company Insitu Pacific to support the trial. Through this partnership, Wisk will combine its knowledge of autonomous flight operations with the advanced technology and expertise of Insitu Pacific and parent company Boeing, in order to safely evaluate, test, and demonstrate the integration of unmanned aircraft into existing airspace.

Wisk brings over a decade of autonomous eVTOL expertise to the trial, including experience from approximately 1500 test flights and the backing of Boeing’s expertise in integrating piloted and autonomous technology. Built on the core values of safety and collaboration, the Transport Trial will address the challenges of airspace integration and help realize the significant opportunities of urban air mobility across a range of industries and applications.

Gary Gysin, CEO of Wisk, commented: “Wisk has always seen the distinct advantages of New Zealand, including the country’s globally respected Civil Aviation Authority and flexibility for Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS). These factors, combined with the advantages of testing and operating in a relatively uncongested airspace and the innovative culture of early adoption, makes New Zealand uniquely positioned as a leader for autonomous UAM integration trials.”

Anna Kominik, Asia Pacific Region Director for Wisk, said: “New Zealand presents a unique opportunity and we are immensely proud to have been recognized by the New Zealand Government as the first airspace integration industry partner. New Zealand’s focus on decarbonizing its economy as part of the electric transport evolution directly aligns with Wisk’s mission to deliver safe, everyday flight for everyone through effective, accessible and sustainable urban air mobility solutions.”

Posted by Mike Ball Mike Ball is our resident technical editor here at Unmanned Systems Technology. Combining his passion for teaching, advanced engineering and all things unmanned, Mike keeps a watchful eye over everything related to the unmanned technical sector. With over 10 years’ experience in the unmanned field and a degree in engineering, Mike’s been heading up our technical team here for the last 8 years. Connect & Contact