Air taxis are trending, and airplane-maker Boeing just doubled down with a massive investment in one startup.
Thanks to the mammoth Washington state-based company, Wisk Aero’s got $450 million more money in the bank. Yahoo! said the investment makes the startup one of the most well-funded Advanced Air Mobility companies globally.
The Mountain View, Calif.-based company started in 2019 as a joint operation between Boeing and Kitty Hawk Corporation.
The company also has locations in Atlanta, Ga., and New Zealand. Google co-founder Larry Page is the owner of Kitty Hawk.
I can see it now, an all-electric yellow taxi-looking aircraft taking me where I want to go without an actual pilot. Imagine air travel with nobody trying to steal my armrest or keeping me from putting my seat back all the way.
Taxi’s Going To Cost You, Probably
With the news of the investment, the fierce competition has just kicked up a notch.
Joby Aviation and German group Lilium have working prototypes in the United States.
Competition in the air taxi space is stiff, as rivals such as Joby Aviation and German firm Lilium have already tested prototypes. Plus, China’s got something going to, too.
Before Boeing’s latest infusion, air taxi funding reached $12.7 billion in the past 12 years.
Since 2010, funding for air taxis has reached $12.7 billion. Last year, air taxi analyst McKinsey said the funds more than doubled to $7 billion.
The reality is that these companies are going to need the money. Eash autonomous, all-electric craft may run from $1 million to more than $3 million. Flying Mag also said the companies would need high passenger counts and many flights to keep making money.
McKinsey predicted that there could be 20,000 daily air taxi flights among all the companies in ten years. The New York Post added that Wisk Aero hoped to start 14 million annual flights in 20 major cities worldwide.
The cash boost will help the company increase its workforce and help make its sixth-generation eVTOLs. That acronym boils down to electric vertical takeoff and landing vehicle. The next-generation product also sets the company apart from others.
Currently, the company employs 350 people.
Boeing Off-shoot In Fight With Competitor
The money infusion also helps Wisk in its year-long fight with Archer Aviation.
Archer Aviation filed a $1 billion lawsuit after Wisk accused the United Airlines-backed startup of trade-secret stealing over its eVTOL. Last summer, the company’s countersuit worked to combat Wisk’s “smear campaign” that had “damaged” Archer.
Corporations like United and Exor N.V. back Archer along with celebrities Alex Rodriguez and Jennifer Lopez. The company wants to launch its first electric flying taxi, “Maker,” in two years with commercial plans.
Wisk sued first, claiming it stole several company engineers in 2019 and 2020. The company added those engineers brought their electric airplane design to Archer.