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This New Air Taxi Aims to Be the First Autonomous eVTOL in the Skies

Generation 6 has a cruising speed of 120 knots and a range of 90 miles.

After more than a decade of painstaking work, Wisk Aero’s flying taxi is ready for the market.

The aviation outfit, which was formed in 2019 as a joint venture between Boeing and the now-defunct Kitty Hawk, has just unveiled a new self-flying electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft that can carry up to four passengers sans emissions.

The aptly named Generation 6 is the sixth full-scale design Wisk has developed in the past 12 years and the first autonomous eVTOL candidate for type certification by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), according to the San Fran company. Essentially, this means the aircraft is designed to meet all the FAA’s design and safety standards.

Wisk Generation 6 eVTOL
The eVTOL has a cruising speed of 120 knots and a range of 90 miles. Wisk Aero

Generation 6 is equipped with six tilting rotors on the front of the wing and six fixed rotors aft. Wisk says the aircraft has a cruising speed of 120 knots (138 mph), a range of 90 miles (140 kilometers) with reserves and can reach altitudes of up to 4,000 feet. It will be predominately controlled by an autopilot system, but there will also be a human watching over every flight remotely in case of any hiccups.

Wisk Generation 6 eVTOL
Generation 6 has four seats and ample storage for baggage. Wisk Aero

As for the cabin, Generation 6 features an “automotive-like interior,” with four comfy seats, ample storage for baggage and even charging ports and Wi-Fi. The aircraft will reportedly take off and land via vertiports positioned on the tops of buildings to make daily commutes and intercity trips quicker, safer and more sustainable. Wisk says the flying-taxi service will be for everyone, too, with a price target of $3 per passenger, per mile. It is also hoping to introduce an app—like Uber Elevate, for example—to streamline bookings.

Wisk Generation 6 eVTOL
Wisk predicts it will eventually carry out 14 million flights annually in around 20 major markets. Wisk Aero

Under the FAA rules, Wisker needs to receive two other types of certification (production certification and air-carrier certification) before launching a commercial service. It’s not the only company working to get the green light from the FAA, either. Joby Aviation, Volocopter, Airbus, Volkswagen and Archer are all hoping to launch commercial flying taxis in the coming years. A few have even received one of the three requisite certifications.

To date, Wisk has completed more than 1,600 test flights. The company is hoping to launch the air-taxi service within the next five years after more rigorous passenger testing. Stay tuned.

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