Wisk flies eVTOL autonomous taxi in LA

  • November 6, 2023
  • Steve Rogerson

Wisk Aero, an advanced air mobility (AAM) company, has becomes first eVTOL air taxi company to conduct autonomous public flights in Los Angeles.

Last month, Wisk became the first electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) air taxi company to fly in the greater Los Angeles area with the launch of test flights at Long Beach Airport. The test flights provided the opportunity for Wisk to conduct autonomous flight operations in a complex, real-world commercial airport environment, alongside other passenger airline operations.

The company concluded its flight programme at Long Beach Airport with the public demonstration of an eVTOL air taxi flight in Los Angeles during Long Beach’s Festival of Flight. The multi-transition flight was conducted using Wisk’s fifth-generation Cora autonomous eVTOL aircraft, demonstrating the safety and reality of autonomous passenger flight.

In addition, the company hosted the mayor of Long Beach and local and state officials from the Los Angeles region, including Orange County, and Boeing leadership, for a discussion regarding the future of AAM within the region.

“Autonomous flight is possible today and it’s happening now in LA,” said Brian Yutko, CEO of Wisk. “Los Angeles is a target launch city for many in our industry and we are extremely proud to be the first air taxi company to fly in LA, and to have done so with an autonomous aircraft. We are fortunate to have the partnership and support of Boeing throughout the area to help build relationships and advance our mission. We are thankful to Long Beach for their ongoing partnership and support as we make safe, everyday, autonomous flight a reality for southern California, and the world.”

Wisk’s position in the Los Angeles Metropolitan Area began in 2022, when the company announced a partnership with Long Beach through the city’s Long Beach Economic Partnership (LBEP). The partnership is focused on evaluating, planning and implementing AAM in Long Beach as part of a broader regional network, with a focus on autonomous flight. Most recently, Wisk sponsored research on the economic impact of AAM for the region, which was conducted by California State University, Long Beach.

“I am proud to see the future of flight becoming a reality in Long Beach,” said Mayor Rex Richardson. “Long Beach has been a leader in aviation for decades and those careers helped build and sustain the middle class here for generations. I am looking forward to working with Wisk and Boeing to create good jobs and integrating a safe, quiet and environmentally responsible transportation option in Long Beach.”

In July 2023, Wisk completed the world’s first public demonstration of an autonomous eVTOL fixed-wing aircraft during EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. The flight demonstrated that autonomous, all-electric air taxis are both safe and quiet, and provided value and learnings for the company’s flight and operations team.

Wisk (wisk.aero) is a fully-owned Boeing subsidiary and is headquartered in the San Francisco Bay Area, with locations around the world. It has over a decade of experience and carried out more than 1700 test flights.