The race is on to see which air taxi will be the first to market and Boeing’s Wisk hopes to cross the finish line first ahead of Uber, Airbus, Honda, and a host of other competitors.
The goal of air taxis is everyday flights for everybody that fly above vehicle traffic and get you to the office, dinner, or the airport faster. Wisk’s price target – $3 per passenger, per mile – is intended to rival airport shuttles and ride-sharing services.
The Advanced Air Mobility company was the first in the US to successfully fly an autonomous air taxi.
Wisk’s four-passenger eVTOL air taxi flies autonomously with human supervisors on the ground that can intervene if needed.
The lack of a human pilot in the cockpit could take some getting used to for early adapters.
Each passenger has their own “Help” call button on the ceiling – in case of emergency or a simple question.
A simplified design with fewer moving parts improves safety while redundant systems with no single point of failure reduce the chance of an accident to one in a billion, according to Wisk.
High-tech decision-making software tied to sensors on the air taxi is designed to detect and avoid near misses and crashes.
With a top speed of 138 mph, the Wisk Gen6 has a range of 90 miles at an altitude of 2,500 to 4,000 feet above the ground. The electric air taxi can recharge in 15 minutes.
Wisk has settled on a distinctive and proprietary 50-foot wingspan design with 12 propellers – six in the front and six in the rear.
The raised wing design with extended prop booms has allowed Wisk to increase stability, improve propulsion, and reduce in-cabin and exterior noise.
The rotating front propellers tilt to shift from lift to thrust.
The skyward-facing fixed rear propellers help improve range, control, and energy efficiency.
The Wisk G6 opts for helicopter-style skids rather than airplane-style wheels.
Inside the cabin, the Wisk Gen6 has four automotive-style seats – two more than the Gen5.
Each seat has a four-point harness seat belt.
Interior consoles in the front and back rows of the WiFi-enabled air taxi feature mobile device charging docks. There are even cupholders.
Passengers use a touch screen to go through a pre-flight checklist and…
… track their flight progress.
The “frunk” trunk in the front of the air taxi…
…stows four carry-on suitcases for trips to and from the airport or any short-range vacation destination.
Wisk has been perfecting its air taxi for 12 years with the Gen1 through Gen6 models logging more than 1,600 successful test flights without an accident.
The Gen4 and Gen5 Wisk air taxis have been in the air since 2017.
Wisk’s proof-of-concept Gen1 eVTOL that took off in 2011 was small enough to fit in a parking space.
The San Francisco Bay Area-based company merged in 2017 with Kitty Hawk Corp. – the air taxi rival financed by Google co-founder Larry Page that just called it quits a few weeks ago.
Wisk hopes Boeing’s 100-plus years of aviation experience and manufacturing scale will give the air taxi maker an advantage in the ultra-competitive eVTOL market.