Wisk’s autonomous air taxi is preparing to take off with actual passengers. On Tuesday, the company has announced that it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Government of New Zealand to conduct a test flight with passengers on its self-flying, all-electric air taxi, Cora. The company will begin a passenger transport trial in Canterbury, New Zealand.
It is noted that after signing the agreement, the company will begin work on obtaining a certificate for Cora from the Civil Aviation Administration of New Zealand before being allowed to fly. After certification, the passenger route planning (first in the world) for trials will start.
Wisk is an independent company based in the Bay Area of San Francisco and New Zealand. It is funded by American aircraft manufacturer Boeing and Kitty Hawk Corporation, created by Google co-founder and Alphabet CEO Larry Page.
Wisk uses Cora’s two-seater aircraft, which Page, along with his team, has been developing for eight years and introduced to the public in 2018.
Cora is a fully electric air taxi that can accommodate two passengers. Cora is designed for flights at an altitude of about 1,500 meters at a speed of about 160 km/h (100 mph) with an initial range of about 40 km (25 miles). It is equipped with 12 independent lifting fans that allow you to take off and land vertically, like a helicopter, so there is no need for a runway.
According to the company’s website, as of January 2020, more than 1000 Cora trial flights were completed.
The Page-backed company, Kitty Hawk, is also working on a new aircraft called Heaviside, which has eight rotors that power its vertical take-off and landing capabilities and is claimed to be 100 times quieter than a helicopter.