Boeing’s Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) company, Wisk Aero, has performed the first-ever public demonstration of a fully autonomous eVTOL fixed-wing aircraft.
The historic event was witnessed by mesmerized crowds who had gathered at the at the EAA AirVenture Airshow in Oshkosh, United States (US), on July 25, 2023.
The display was performed by Wisk’s Generation 5 aircraft, although the eVTOL developer is working certification for the Generation 6 air taxi.
“Congratulations to our entire team for the incredible effort that went into making this happen! More details to come,” Wisk Aero wrote on Twitter.
Wisk Aero has focused on a fully autonomous aircraft, rather than one that is piloted, under the belief that the future of the industry will be based around self-driving vehicles.
Speaking with media at Paris Air Show in June 2023, Wisk’s CEO, Brian Yutko, stated that autonomy remains the goal and that he expects Wisk to achieve it and get certified before the end of this decade.
“There is no Plan B,” stated Yutko confidently.
In a video taken of the demonstration the Wisk air taxi can be seen flying forward and rotating while hovering in the air.
On May 31, 2023, it was announced that the Californian startup would become a fully owned subsidiary of Boeing.
Boeing had previously been one of two shareholders, the other being AAM startup Kittyhawk.
Wisk Aero was founded in 2019 as a joint venture between Boeing and Kitty Hawk Corporation, which was started by Google co-founder Larry Page.
In 2022 Boeing invested almost half a billion dollars into the self-flying electric air taxi developer.
Wisk’s aircraft is a fixed-wing platform, powered by 12 independent rotors (six on each wing). It can fly at altitudes of between 1500 and 5000 feet, traveling at speeds of up to 100 miles an hour (160km/h) with a range of about 25 miles (40 km).