A company called Wisk is ushering in the age of self-flying air taxis in New Zealand with a little backing from aviation leaders like Boeing and Kitty Hawk. The world's first passenger transport trial using a self-piloted and fully electric prototype has been approved in New Zealand. Wisk's Cora air taxi is now the official 'poster child' for the air-taxi market. Just how official is it? New Zealand has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Wisk for the development and promotion of Urban Air Mobility (UAM). Get ready for flying taxis.
We don't yet know when we can expect to see Wisk's air taxis zipping around over the neighborhoods of New Zealand. Wisk won't be able to establish an air route until it can obtain an official airworthiness certification from the New Zealand Civil Aviation Authority. The one thing we can say is that a lot of testing will be done as part of an extensive transport trial between now and whenever that date happens to be. Of course, Wisk's Cora is no stranger to the skies. The vessel has completed somewhere around 1,000 test flights since 2017. However, getting from the testing phase to actual in-service operations is a whole different ballgame.
New Zealand's commitment to developing an industry for air taxis is part of the zero-carbon goal that the country's leaders hope to reach by 2050. In addition, air taxis will help to reduce congestion throughout New Zealand's cities during peak traffic times. Wisk's New Zealand air route will be the first of its kind in the world once it does receive the proper approval to get off the ground! Cora uses vertical landing and takeoff capabilities powered by human-monitored software. While the aircraft looks like a helicopter when taking off, its cruising style resembles the way an airplane flies.