Wisk Aero is expanding its operations into Canada as the pilotless eVTOL air taxi developer steps up work on the sixth-generation eVTOL aircraft that it intends to be flown autonomously from ground-based operations centers. The company announced on August 9 new plans to launch an engineering hub in Montreal.
Wisk's headquarters are located in Mountain View, California, and the company operates additional facilities in Atlanta, Australia, and New Zealand. Its new Montreal hub will be dedicated to the ongoing development of the sixth-generation aircraft that will replace the two-seat Cora technology demonstrator the company has been flight testing extensively.
“Canada’s forward-looking approach to aviation and interest in AAM, combined with its pool of experienced aerospace talent, make it an ideal location for Wisk as we expand our global footprint,” said Sebastien Vigneron, Wisk’s senior vice president of engineering and programs. “This expansion highlights the increasing global interest in our mission to bring safe, everyday flight to everyone, and we look forward to continuing that mission with support from our new Montreal-based hub.”
Wisk, a joint venture between Boeing and Kitty Hawk Corporation, believes that autonomous operations will provide the cost structure needed to make eVTOL air taxi services commercially viable. It has not yet said what range and payload its planned production aircraft will deliver.
The fifth-generation Cora technology demonstrator seats two passengers and has a range of about 25 miles (40 kilometers) on a single charge, and it has a cruise speed of 100 mph (160 km/h), according to the company’s website. Its design features 12 vertical lift propellers attached to two fixed wings and one additional pressure propeller behind the fuselage.
Wisk has yet to provide a projected timeline for the FAA’s certification of its air taxi, but the company has ambitious plans to scale its operations once it achieves certification. Company officials have previously said that Wisk plans to operate 14 million flights per year across a network of 20 cities just five years after its aircraft is cleared to fly.