Wisk plans autonomous air taxis in Houston

  • March 4, 2024
  • Steve Rogerson

Boeing subsidiary Wisk Aero is bringing autonomous air taxis to Houston.

In a partnership with the city of Sugar Land in Texas, Wisk will bring autonomous advanced air mobility (AAM) to the greater Houston region.

Under this partnership, Wisk and Sugar Land will identify and assess a location at the Sugar Land Regional Airport for the development of vertiport infrastructure that would allow for Wisk’s autonomous air taxi operations. This initial partnership will lay the foundation and act as a gateway for the establishment of a larger network across greater Houston.

“The greater Houston area is experiencing some of the highest population growth in the country, which calls for new and efficient ways to move across the region,” said Wisk CEO Brian Yutko. “Sugar Land’s strategic location within the greater Houston region, and its forward-thinking city leadership, make it an ideal partner for us and one that is uniquely positioned as an early leader in the launch of air taxi services. We look forward to working with Sugar Land, local ecosystem stakeholders and the FAA on both ground and air infrastructure, as we bring autonomous air taxi services to the greater Houston region.”

Sugar Land city manager Michael Goodrum added: “Sugar Land is committed to blazing new trails, and I believe our relentless approach has caught the attention of the private sector as we’ve sought mobility innovations in our community through efforts like advanced air mobility. We are excited to partner with Wisk Aero on a new concept that just might change the way we travel, not only in our city but across the world. Sugar Land is a great place to start in the Houston region, because we want to be a city where innovation is second nature, where creativity is encouraged and where change is embraced. We couldn’t ask for a better partner than Wisk Aero to join us on this journey.”

And Texas state representative David Cook said: “I am thrilled to see a leading AAM company like Wisk commit to the future of advanced air mobility here in Texas. These public-private partnerships are exactly what we hoped would result from the passage of our legislation during the 88th Legislative Session and solidifies Texas as a leader in this new technology space.”

Wisk will provide advice on technical needs for autonomous eVTOL (electric vertical take-off and landing) operations, including infrastructure, training, ground operational procedures and plans for potential site expansion. Sugar Land will focus on integrating AAM into its long-term plans, championing community engagement, and establishing operational policy, such as infrastructure permitting and noise levels.

Together, the two organisations plan to explore incorporating maintenance and training facilities in Sugar Land, and engage local and regional stakeholders to develop routes that connect Sugar Land to the greater Houston region, such as downtown Houston and the Houston airport system.

Wisk spent the past 18 months actively developing an ecosystem of stakeholders and local relationships to play a critical role under this agreement, and in helping achieve long-term success for future air taxi services.

Wisk (wisk.aero) is an AAM company dedicated to delivering safe, everyday flight for everyone. Its self-flying eVTOL air taxi can make it possible for passengers to skip the traffic and get to their destination faster. Wisk is a fully-owned Boeing subsidiary and is headquartered in San Francisco, with locations around the world. With over a decade of experience and over 1700 test flights, Wisk says it is shaping the future of daily commutes and urban travel, safely and sustainably.

Sugar Land Regional Airport (www.sugarlandregionalairport.com) has the capacity for handling up to 268,000 operations. The airport has been designated as a reliever airport for George Bush Intercontinental and Hobby Airport in Houston.