Whether it’s commuting by car, cab, or public transportation, the hustle and bustle of metropolitan life can make traveling throughout a city time-consuming and costly. However, advanced air mobility (AAM) company Wisk Aero may have just the solution — a fully-autonomous, electric flying taxi.
“You're stuck in a cab, you're stuck in your car. Not only is it a long journey, it could be an hour, hour and a half, two hours that you're in commute,” Wisk Aero CEO Gary Gysin told Yahoo Finance Live. “But the other part of it is the predictability of it. You don't actually know when you're going to get to your destination. And so that is the problem we are trying to solve.”
Gysin joined Yahoo Finance Live to discuss Wisk Aero’s partnership with aerospace giant Boeing (BA) and the applications for the company’s electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) technology. Based in the San Francisco Bay Area and New Zealand, Wisk is also backed by billionaire Larry Page’s Kitty Hawk Corporation.
Wisk was able to secure $450 million in funding from Boeing, making it one of the best-funded AAM companies in the world, according to its website. This investment will go toward supporting Wisk’s growth and manufacturing scaling efforts while also advancing the development of its sixth generation eVTOL aircraft — the first-ever candidate for certification of an autonomous, all-electric, passenger-carrying aircraft in the U.S.
“This isn't just about financing the company,” Gysin said. “This is about having a partnership with the number one aerospace leader. The benefit they bring, you can think of Silicon Valley, innovation — anything is possible [when you are] coupled with the largest aerospace player that has been there, done that, has certified aircraft, knows how to provide a safe experience.”
As for Wisk’s relationships with other entities like government agencies such as the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Gysin said that he has been “pleasantly surprised” by the support the company has received from regulators around the globe. He said that the FAA “partnership” has been critical in providing guidance to Wisk regarding aircraft development and navigating the regulatory environment.
Air commuting becoming a reality
While Gysin did not provide an exact timeline for when Wisk’s flying taxi will enter commercial service, industry sources estimate that the passenger vehicle is set for certification around 2028. He believes that the market for autonomous air taxis could reach $4 trillion by 2035, and has high ambitions for revolutionizing the way people commute.
And with Wisk’s air taxi being fully electric, Gysin noted that fewer moving parts in the vehicle allow the company to reduce costs significantly, eventually meeting the price needs of the average commuter.
“There is less maintenance, less operating costs, and not having a pilot [reduces costs],” he said. “So if our operating costs are lower, we can charge less. We can broaden our reach to the masses. And our goal is to have college students, somebody just entering the workforce — they can afford this as an everyday mode of transportation.”
In terms of updates to infrastructure that may be needed in order for Wisk to properly scale its operations in urban areas, Gysin said that the company can leverage existing helipads and airports. Electric charging stations and the ability to on-load and offload passengers will need to be incorporated, but ultimately, not much additional infrastructure will be required.
“We've got a 20-city rollout plan. We haven't announced that yet, but we do have our plan,” Gysin said. “We are engaged with the initial cities where we're going to launch the service.”
Thomas Hum is a writer at Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter @thomashumTV