Boeing invests more money in the Electric Air Taxi Project in collaboration with Kitty Hawk. Wisk Aero, the electric air taxi startup, raised $450 million from Boeing, this will make it one of the most well-funded companies in the world.
According to Wisk Aero, it is a privately backed AAM leader, unlike similar startups that have gone public recently by merging with special purpose acquisition companies, also known as SPACs or “blank check” companies.
Wisk Aero, the fruit of a joint venture between Boeing and Kitty Hawk was formed in 2019 and supported by Google co-founder Larry Page.
The new funds will help Wisk bring rapid growth by adding new employees to its current workforce of approximately 350 people. It will also help kickoff a manufacturing process that will result in a full-scale, commercially operational air taxi business within the next five years. The company predicts it will conduct 14 million flights annually in around 20 major markets around the globe.
To achieve all this the company needs to get approval to legally carry passengers by the US Federal Aviation Administration and other government regulators. Industry experts feel it will take Wisk nearly five years or a little longer for the regulators to certify the new types of aircraft as being safe to carry passengers. FAA has not certified any electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft for commercial operation so far.
There has been an influx of many startups in recent years with prototype aircraft powered by electricity. These Electric air taxis can carry passengers from one destination to another, ideal for short flights within a city or a region. According to analysts, the flying taxi market could grow to $150 billion in revenue by 2035.
The lack of regulatory approval has not deterred Wisk from progressing with its plans. The company has made deals with helicopter tourism turned urban mobility company Blade last year, to own and operate a fleet of 30 aircrafts. Also, the company signed a deal with the government of New Zealand to conduct a flying taxi trial using its all-electric, self-flying aircraft Cora.
Cora will provide a flying taxi service, which passengers can summon using an app. The aircraft will have no pilot on board and will be flown by autopilot systems, with supervision from a human pilot situated remotely.
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