Boeing and Kitty Hawk Corporation on Monday unveiled a new company, Wisk, to develop Kitty Hawk’s Cora eVTOL as an air taxi.
The news comes around five months after Boeing and Kitty Hawk announced a strategic partnership to collaborate on urban air mobility. Both then and now, the companies are billing their alliance as combining “the innovation of Kitty Hawk with Boeing’s scale and expertise.”
The new company is led by CEO Gary Gysin, who previously served as president and CEO of Liquid Robotics, a developer of autonomous marine vehicles that was acquired by Boeing in 2016. Additional board members include Steve Nordlund, VP and general manager of Boeing NeXt; Kitty Hawk CEO Sebastian Thrun; Logan Jones, VP of Boeing HorizonX; and David Estrada, chief legal and policy officer for Nuro, a developer of autonomous delivery vehicles. Wisk is headquartered in Mountain View, California, with locations in Atlanta, Georgia, and New Zealand.
The foundation of the company is the team behind Kitty Hawk’s Cora eVTOL, a two-seat, autonomous air taxi prototype that has been undergoing flight testing in New Zealand since late 2017. The operating company for that venture, Zephyr Airworks, was recently selected by the New Zealand government as the first partner for its Airspace Integration Trials Program, which aims to help accelerate the integration of advanced unmanned aircraft into the aviation system.
With the creation of Wisk, Zephyr Airworks becomes Wisk New Zealand. Cora will continue to be developed for passenger-carrying missions, as “our vision of delivering everyday flight to everyone remains the same,” the company said.
Wisk was revealed just hours after Forbes published an article detailing troubles with Kitty Hawk’s Flyer program, which sought to develop a single-seat personal eVTOL for recreational use. Former employees told Forbes that the Flyer program has recently gone through a “reset,” and the company is now exploring commercial applications for the ultralight aircraft.
Kitty Hawk has also developed a third eVTOL aircraft, Heaviside. That single-seat prototype debuted in October with a video showing it in maneuvering flight and emphasizing its low noise signature compared to conventional helicopters.