Boeing invests a further $450 million in the air taxi startup launched by Google cofounder Larry Page to develop pilotless aircraft

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  • Boeing invested another $450 million in Wisk to make autonomous electric aircraft, The WSJ reported.

  • It comes amid a growing appetite for self-flying aircraft.

  • Wisk's 6th generation eVTOL will be the first candidate for certification in the US, the firm said.

Boeing has invested another $450 million in aviation startup Wisk Aero to develop pilotless electric aircraft, which are designed to move passengers around cities, The Wall Street Journal reported.

According to Wisk, the investment establishes the company as one of the most funded advanced air mobility (AAM) companies.

Wisk was formed in 2019 as a joint venture between Boeing and Kitty Hawk Corporation. The latter is an electric aircraft maker started by Sebastian Thrun and Google cofounder Larry Page.

In May 2021, Wisk signed its first deal to operate air taxis in the US, CNBC reported at the time.

There is a growing appetite for the development of self-flying taxis. Boeing's commitment comes amid a surge in the number of aviation startups that have attracted billions of dollars of investment.

Wisk's CEO Gary Gysin said in a statement posted on its website on Monday: "As we enter this next stage of our growth, this additional funding provides us with capital while allowing us to remain focused on our core business and our number one priority, safety."

While the joint venture anticipates operating close to 14 million annual flights, it has not specified when it will be ready to launch.

Wisk's 6th generation eVTOL aircraft will be the first candidate for the certification of "an autonomous, all-electric, passenger-carrying aircraft in the US," according to the statement.

The statement quoted Boeing's chief strategy officer Marc Allen as saying: "Autonomy is the key to unlocking scale across all AAM applications, from passenger to cargo and beyond. That's why straight-to-autonomy is a core first principle."

Competitors like Airbus and Embraer are also developing their own electric air taxis but one of the main challenges they all face is "achieving production certification," the principal of Directional Aviation Capital, Kenn Ricci, told The WSJ.

Boeing and Alaska airlines recently teamed up to test new technologies and develop eco-friendly planes in an attempt to fight climate change.

Read the original article on Business Insider