Wisk, NASA Partner On Autonomous Aircraft Integration


Urban air mobility (UAM) company Wisk has announced that it is partnering with NASA to explore the “safe integration of autonomous aircraft systems into Urban Air Mobility applications at a national level.” According to the company, its work will initially focus on safety scenarios related to autonomous flight and contingency management including collision avoidance and flight path management. The partnership is part of NASA’s Advanced Air Mobility National Campaign.

“Wisk brings a tremendous amount of experience in eVTOL vehicle development, automation technologies, and flight test, and combines it with a safety-first mindset towards advancing autonomous flight,” said NASA Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate associate administrator Robert Pearce. “NASA believes our partnership with Wisk will help accelerate the realization of exciting new Advanced Air Mobility missions.”

Wisk is developing the Cora autonomous, all-electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) air taxi. The company, which has facilities in California’s San Francisco Bay area and New Zealand, reports that it has conducted more than 1400 eVTOL test flights since 2010. As previously reported by AVweb, Wisk signed an agreement with the New Zealand government last February to establish a passenger transport trial in Canterbury.

Kate O'Connor
Kate O’Connor works as AVweb's Editor-in-Chief. She is a private pilot, certificated aircraft dispatcher, and graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

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  1. How do you “integrate” a dozen spinning blades of death into an urban (uncontrolled) environment? It’s a serious question since there is no security and no schedule when one of these arrives in a neighborhood or shopping mall or a bar at 2am.

      • The term “urban mobility” means just that; operating to get people to their DESTINATION. That’s right off of the Wisk website. Unless you live on an urban airport then your destination is off-airport in an urban environment.

    • It’s not they’re selling them yet; this is still early development.
      Your scenarios will surely be thought through eventually, but it’s way too early for that.

  2. Marketing is marketing and anyway the vendor is not specific on their website about how they plan to do what they claim. I don’t think that means they just intend to have their craft plonk down unannounced wherever they feel like it, and it’s hard to imagine that that would be their expectation. On the other hand it’s easy to imagine, for example, a network of secured small VTOL landing sites close to many places people want to go.

    • That’s a lot of real estate across the city (that will sit more unused than ever used). Unless you envision tens of thousands of these eVTOL machines in a city then the numbers will never add up to be profitable. And no, I do not want to subsidize them.