State Transportation or Infrastructure Plan
Q: How does Wisk see UAM impacting State level transportation and infrastructure plans?
A: Outside of the existing airlines, most of the public does not consider travel by air when planning personal or business travel within the State. Wisk is developing an all-electric urban air transportation solution to change that mindset and open high capacity access to a more efficient travel experience while supporting State goals for sustainability and job creation. Dovetailing the light footprint of quiet and clean short-distance air travel to existing travel modes provides State and city transportation planners opportunities to develop more synergistic infrastructure, energy distribution and mobility plans.
Q: How will Wisk contribute directly or indirectly at the state and local level?
A: Wisk currently provides hundreds of jobs in engineering, manufacturing and supporting roles. Ramping up a new transportation system will initially require construction and development of infrastructure and trained personnel at landing facilities and operation centers to support this activity. As it grows, new jobs will emerge to fulfill requirements in support of flight safety, maintenance, passenger service and the peripheral services typically associated with any transportation mode.
Q: What is Wisk’s position on vertiports and how the development of vertiports will evolve?
A: Wisk sees the opportunity of using existing infrastructure (airports, helipads, existing structures (ie. garages) that can easily be adapted for eVTOL. Wisk has its eye on the long term vision of partnering to develop new eVTOL infrastructure (known as “vertiports”) via support from the national and State level for funding. Wisk sees opportunity in private sector development discussions to encourage investment, but Wisk does not anticipate directly investing in vertiport development.
Access for All / Pricing
Q: How will Wisk launch with social equity and equity of access to the service in plans?
A: Transportation equity is a challenge when segments of the population have to spend more time getting to the same place than others who are more fortunate to live closer to major transportation links, among other advantages. Wisk’s service can be established and operated with a small urban footprint close to where it is needed. With more direct routing and higher speeds compared to most other transportation options, the time to reach the destination shrinks dramatically.
Areas that are currently underserved, whether by geography, congestion or lack of development, could see the most benefit compared to building traditional transportation infrastructure.
The State may appreciate how transformative this could be and consider creating programs to subsidize initial ridership costs to support underserved groups in collaboration with Wisk.
Wisk is focused on advancing the concept that Urban Air Mobility and Advanced Air Mobility (UAM/AAM), a new form of transportation, should not overlook those who are traditionally left behind when new transportation plans are made.
Noise / Community
Q: How will your vehicle work in complex urban environments?
A: Many of today’s urban environments are densely populated, cluttered with vehicles, and filled with the spew of fumes and noise from many directions. Many State citizens object to this and would prefer less irritating conditions. Urban Air Mobility’s ability to take a person above the street level and quickly place them at a new destination with less noise, pollution, and hassle reduces the overall negative impact of today’s urban transport options.
As this type of transportation scales up, real improvements can be found in infrastructure maintenance, emissions, and total noise impact. Wisk’s low impact passenger service will provide a new travel option, especially for those who are used to using multiple transportation modes in one trip. Urban dwellers will realize the valuable benefits of this service and where it can quickly take them, such as the office, the airport, the doctor or a job interview.
Sustainability / Environmental Impact
Q: What environmental impact does Wisk anticipate UAM to have when services are at scale?
A: Wisk is innovating for a brighter tomorrow where our next generation aircraft will provide not only a safe and reliable flight but will also build sustainability into every step of the way. Wisk is making conscious efforts to reduce our carbon footprint, implement the highest standards in waste management, and be inclusive of environmental planning as part of our day-to-day business activity. And on top of that we are all electric!
Q: What is needed to enable Wisk’s 6th generation aircraft to enter into service, and when is that projected timeframe? What elements will dictate when it enters service?
A: FAA-approved Wisk aircraft will connect citizens to destinations quietly and quickly, leaving no trail of emissions in their wake. Meeting FAA’s robust safety standards in categories such as strength, reliability and performance assures a measure of protection and safety higher than cars, buses and trains. The added benefit of highly automated aircraft systems minimize the potential for human errors.
Bringing these sophisticated aircraft to market is a huge undertaking and Wisk knows it will take time to meet the design regulations and gather the test data required for approval to operate. And it is more than just the aircraft — accommodating high density automated flights and building out the infrastructure for landing sites, aircraft servicing and passenger operations are part of a government and industry-wide challenge to stand up this ecosystem by the end of the decade.
Wisk is supporting federal legislative initiatives focusing on manpower, direction and funding that will result in grants and actions for Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) to move forward at a high pace.
Q: Has Wisk performed a safety analysis to determine if autonomous piloting of the aircraft is safer than having a pilot onboard?
A: The industry is converging on the realization that automation will result in safer systems as noted by former NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine in July last year when he stated that “You can actually make the argument that in the future it’s going to be safer to fly an un-crewed aircraft than crewed aircraft“.
The proliferation of automation extends beyond aviation, as evidenced by the expansion of autonomous ground transportation solutions that are coming onto the market as we speak – a visible acceleration to what came to the public attention in 2005 under the DARPA Grand Challenge.
At the core of this exponential transformation is the convergence of massive telecommunications, en-masse compute resources, miniaturization of sensor technology, and advances in automation methods that, when combined, result in transportation systems that exceed the cognitive/physiological capabilities of humans.
For starters, these systems never get tired or become distracted. What’s more, optimum parallel processing capabilities, as an example, allow for Detect-and-Avoid (DAA) systems to concurrently take stock of an aircraft’s surroundings at all times.
We should consider that approximately 80% of aviation accidents are due to human error — Wisk is convinced that automation will increase safety levels above and beyond that seen by General Aviation and Auto-Transport sectors.
Q: Can you talk in detail about Wisk’s 6th generation aircraft specific technology/specs and how the aircraft will fly autonomously?
A: Wisk’s 6th generation, all-electric airplane will feature multiple redundant systems to meet stringent safety requirements. Our current 5th generation aircraft leverages advances in sensing and flight controls to reliably and safely navigate without a pilot on board. Wisk is using an incremental approach to autonomous operations. Initial operations will utilize ground support personnel to ensure safety.