Boeing-backed Wisk Aero reveals a four-seater autonomous air taxi


The Boeing-backed startup is hoping that FAA certification will allow it to launch the first air taxi startup, but the process has proven to be slow going

They’ve managed to attract funding from a number of established companies, including HyundaiToyotaAirbusBoeingBell, and Uber. Analysts predict that the flying taxi market could grow to $150 billion in revenue by 2035.

Of course, serious obstacles remain before Wisk or any other company can launch a commercial service. The power-to-weight ratio is a huge challenge for electric flight. Energy density — the amount of energy stored in a given system — is the key metric, and today’s batteries don’t contain enough energy to get most planes off the ground. To weigh it out: jet fuel gives us about 43 times more energy than a battery that’s just as heavy.

There have been numerous demonstrations of battery-powered flight, but there are no electric aircraft in commercial operation anywhere in the world. 

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Author: Andrew J. Hawkins