American aircraft maker, Boeing has invested $450 million in Wisk’s mission to build an autonomous and electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL), Reuters reported. California-based, Wisk is already owned by Boeing and Kitty Hawk, a firm founded by Larry Page.
eVTOLs are gaining tremendous popularity. Elon Musk is focusing on making tunnels under the ground to move within the city, but other startups are taking to the skies to solve the problem of congestion on the roads. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in the U.S., has helped startups conduct flight tests for their air vehicle concepts and even experiment with fuel sources like hydrogen.
Aircraft maker Boeing is looking at this opportunity to innovate rapidly across domains and takeaway learnings in electric, material, and processing technology to its portfolio, Reuters reported. In 2019, Boeing had also partnered with car maker Porsche to develop premium mobility solutions.
Most of the startups are going for the 2024 launch of their services. However, Boeing is in no hurry since it intends to leapfrog the first generation eVTOLs and begin its journey with fully autonomous flying taxis. According to the Reuters report, that would be Wisk’s sixth-generation aircraft, even though the company claims the bragging rights to have performed the first autonomous eVTOL passenger flight in 2017.
It is said that it will not be until 2028 when Wisk gets its autonomous flying taxi certified by the authorities and Boeing’s $450 million will help massively in achieving this goal. Apart from delivering a flying taxi service that could whisk you to the other part of the town autonomously and in no time, Boeing would surely be interested in applying learnings in autonomy and electric propulsion to its aircraft business at large.
Boeing’s Chief Strategy Officer, Marc Allen is open to collaborations with startups that could help its aerospace business transform in the face of changing demands of air transportation.