Wisk Aero and Skyports are partnering to integrate autonomous eVTOL aircraft operations at vertiports, in what is said to mark the first collaboration between a vertiport developer and an autonomous eVTOL developer in the USA.
The partnership is evaluating a host of core areas, including physical aircraft functions, capabilities, requirements, interfaces, and support. Additionally, it will also look at passenger accommodation, schedule management, ground operations management, final approach and takeoff management, navigational aids, situational awareness, contingency management and airspace design.
A first-of-its-kind Concept of Operations (ConOps) has also been released, which identifies how autonomous eVTOL aircraft and operators will integrate with vertiports, and also defines the journey of an autonomous eVTOL aircraft in its relationship to UAM-specific infrastructure.
“We are excited to partner with Skyports, a leader in vertiports and AAM infrastructure, and it is critical that future operations are autonomous for safety, scalability, and affordability,” said Gary Gysin, CEO of Wisk.
“With this ConOps, Wisk and Skyports are helping to define those future operations while ensuring the long-term success and full potential of this industry.”
The announcement and ConOps highlights the critical importance of evaluating operational considerations for infrastructure and other ecosystem elements as the industry approaches the launch of both piloted and autonomous operations.
While AAM services will initially launch with piloted vehicles, Wisk and Skyports recognise that autonomy is key to unlocking the scalability, accessibility, and affordability needed to realise AAM’s full market potential.
“It is important that infrastructure built today can accommodate the aircraft of tomorrow, and we are thrilled to be partnered with Wisk as they push the bounds of aircraft systems innovation,” added Duncan Walker, CEO of Skyports.
“The ConOps and our continued work on the development of vertiports and ground-based infrastructure will ensure that this industry is well prepared to safely integrate autonomous operations in the future.”
In February, Wisk partnered with the city of Long Beach in California, through its Long Beach Economic Partnership, to co-chair an AAM working group for an initial two-year term to focus on evaluating, planning, and implementing autonomous flight AAM.
Last month, Eve Air Mobility formed a consortium featuring Skyports, L3Harris Technologies and the Community Air Mobility Initiative to develop a ConOps for services between Miami International Airport (MIA) and the Miami Beach Convention Centre.