Autonomous air taxi trial slated for New Zealand

February 07, 2020 //By Rich Pell
Autonomous air taxi trial slated for New Zealand
Urban air mobility company Wisk (Mountain View, CA) and the New Zealand Government have announced a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to establish an autonomous passenger transport trial in Canterbury, New Zealand.

Wisk's self-flying, all-electric air taxi, called Cora, was selected for the trial. This follows an announcement last October by New Zealand that it was establishing an industry-wide Airspace Integration Trial to work with leading, innovative domestic and international industry partners to safely test and demonstrate unmanned aircraft.

Wisk, an independent company backed by The Boeing Company and Kitty Hawk Corporation, is the first industry partner to join this program.

"This trial is the first of its kind," says New Zealand's Minister of Research Science and Innovation Hon. Dr. Megan Woods, "and Wisk's innovative technology and commitment to New Zealand make them an ideal partner for advancing the future of travel in New Zealand and the world.

Wisk CEO, Gary Gysin says, "We are delighted to now have a signed agreement with the New Zealand Government, which will propel Cora's entry to the air taxi market. We see this agreement as a sign of confidence in our product and abilities to develop and deliver a safe and reliable air taxi service, starting in New Zealand."

With over 1,000 test flights completed, the Cora self-flying vehicle is an electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) air taxi equipped with 12 independent rotors, three independent flight computers, and a parachute for safe landing in the event the aircraft needs to land without its fans. Cora, says the company, has been testing in the Canterbury, New Zealand region since 2017.

With the agreement now in place, the planning for a passenger transport trial in Canterbury is now underway. The passenger route is claimed to be a world's first and will commence after Cora's certification by the New Zealand Civil Aviation Authority.

Wisk

Related articles:
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Autonomous flight platform aims to make urban air travel mainstream
Micron invests in autonomous, on-demand air taxi startup

 


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