Wisk and New Zealand Government to partner in world’s first autonomous air taxi trial
Mountain View, California and Wellington, New Zealand
The New Zealand Government and Wisk, an Urban Air Mobility (UAM) company, have announced a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to establish a passenger transport trial in Canterbury, New Zealand. Wisk’s self-flying, all-electric air taxi, called Cora, is the aircraft selected for the trials.
In October 2019, the New Zealand Government announced that it was establishing an industry-wide Airspace Integration Trial to work with innovative domestic and international industry partners to safely test and demonstrate unmanned aircraft. Wisk, based in the United States and New Zealand, was announced as the first industry partner to join this program.
Wisk CEO, Gary Gysin, said: “We are delighted to now have a signed agreement with the New Zealand Government, which will propel Cora’s entry to the air taxi market. We see this agreement as a sign of confidence in our product and abilities to develop and deliver a safe and reliable air taxi service, starting in New Zealand”. As the Minister of Research Science and Innovation Hon. Dr. Megan Woods said in her announcement:
“This trial is the first of its kind and Wisk’s innovative technology and commitment to New Zealand make them an ideal partner for advancing the future of travel in New Zealand and the world.”
“Wisk has been working with the Government and people of New Zealand since 2017, said Gary Gysin. We are excited about what this agreement and trial represents in our journey to bring safe everyday flight to everyone. New Zealand values innovation, excellence and technology that is safe for people and the environment. Being selected as the partner for this program is an honor and testament to our hard work and steady progress.”
Around the globe, Urban Air Mobility is an emerging, high-value industry and New Zealand is an attractive location because of its thriving innovation ecosystem with unique expertise, people and technology.
With the agreement now in place, the planning for a passenger transport trial in Canterbury is now underway. The passenger route is a world’s first and will commence after Cora’s certification by the New Zealand Civil Aviation Authority.
About the NZ Government Airspace Integration Trials
The Airspace Integration Trial programme is being centrally managed by New Zealand’s Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s Innovative Partnerships team, working alongside the Civil Aviation Authority, the Ministry of Transport and other key stakeholders to support industry partners to take their technology from testing to in-service operations.
Wisk is an urban air-mobility company dedicated to delivering safe, everyday flight for everyone. Cora, its self-flying, eVTOL (electric vertical takeoff and landing) air taxi, will make it possible for passengers to skip traffic gridlock and get to their destination faster. Based in the San Francisco Bay Area and New Zealand, Wisk is an independent company backed by The Boeing Company and Kitty Hawk With a decade of experience and over 1,000 test flights completed, Wisk is set to shape the future of daily commutes and urban travel, safely and sustainably.
Wisk’s Cora has been testing in the Canterbury region since 2017, generating new job opportunities and contributing to local businesses in the area. The company is also working closely with Ngāi Tahu, to support STEM education and to develop technical skills and a pipeline of talent.
In New Zealand, Wisk New Zealand is the trading name of Zephyr Airworks Delaware (USA) limited liability company.