New images of flying air taxis are coming to New Zealand
New images of flying taxis that will be active in New Zealand in “five to 10 years” have been released.
Wisk Aero creates unmanned flying taxis that “rise like a helicopter and fly like an airplane”. The plane has 12 independent electric rotors, redundant systems and a parachute in case of a serious problem.
Testing has taken place in Canterbury in recent years, with Stuff Travel witnessing a test flight at Tekapo airport in 2019. The company has partnered with the New Zealand government to push forward its trials, and Air New Zealand – which could eventually introduce them into its fleet. .
More than 1,500 test flights have so far taken place in New Zealand and at its base in the United States.
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New footage has been released of Wisk’s progress, revealing the plane was flying faster and higher.
The company also recently announced a “6th generation” aircraft with four seats, with the company saying that “the day when you can avoid traffic by flying over it in an air taxi is coming, and we want the world to be ready.”
Flight testing in New Zealand is complete for the time being, and the focus here is on an “Airspace Integration Test Program”.
“We have developed and tested procedures that will allow autonomous aircraft to fly in controlled airspace,” says Chris Brown, communications manager at Wisk.
Air New Zealand CEO Greg Foran was in California recently to check out the new four-seater plane.
However, the airline remains tight-lipped about what it wants to do with the flying taxis.
Asked about his ambitions for electric taxis, Foran revealed little.
“Air New Zealand has had a Memorandum of Understanding with Wisk since 2018, and we continue to work together to find sustainable aviation solutions.
“Wisk is making great strides with their 4-seater autonomous electric aircraft, and we look forward to staying close to them as their technology advances,” Foran said.
Wisk has huge ambitions for its planes, saying that within five years of certification it expects 14 million annual flights in 20 cities, with around 40 million people using its service.
The company has confirmed that at least one New Zealand city is in the top 20 – but won’t go into details at this stage.
Wisk has an impressive list of partners, including Nasa and Boeing – which recently announced it was investing NZ$690 million ($450 million) in the company.
The company has confirmed that Wisk aircraft will be on display at upcoming events in New Zealand.