Wisk Aero has created history today (26 July) with the world’s first public demonstration a flight of a fully autonomous, electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL), fixed-wing air taxi.
The multi-transition flight took place at EAA AirVenture during which the air taxi transitioned from hover to wing borne flight four times. The flight also included multiple maneuvers such as hover and 360-degree turns in place.
“We’re proud to demonstrate the autonomous technology behind our self-flying first approach,” said Brian Yutko, CEO of Wisk. “This demonstration showcases the state of readiness for autonomous technology and electric propulsion. Combined with the progress we’re making on Type Certification for our 6th Generation air taxi, we’re proving that autonomy is possible and it’s happening today. We look forward to launching the first passenger service on an all-electric, autonomous air taxi within this decade.”
This is not the first time the company has made aviation history. It completed the world’s first full transition of an eVTOL aircraft with its 1st Generation air taxi; the world’s first piloted flight of a fly-by-wire, all-electric, human-rated aircraft using its 2nd Generation air taxi in 2015); and in 2017 it achieved the world’s first piloted full transition flight of a human-rated eVTOL aircraft with its 3rd Generation air taxi.
Jim Tighe, chief technology officer at Wisk, commented, “We are thrilled to be able to share 13+ years of aviation milestones and now another first with the public. Oshkosh is a particularly fitting milestone venue as it embodies the spirit of passion and innovation at Wisk. We’ve shared something that is really special. For the first time, we have publicly demonstrated fully autonomous flight, conducted by an all-electric, fly-by-wire, vertical takeoff and landing aircraft. There was no pilot on board, no pilot controls in the aircraft, and no stick-and-rudder on the ground. The entire flight was operated with the push of a button.”