NASA has partnered with Wisk, the creators of the Cora all-electric, self-flying air taxi, to collaborate on the safe integration of autonomous aircraft systems into Urban Air Mobility applications at a national level.
The partnership with Wisk is part of NASA's Advanced Air Mobility National Campaign to develop critical guidance for UAM operations while addressing challenges like certification and standards development.
The hope is that the campaign will accelerate U.S. leadership in emerging automated aviation technology and promote public confidence in safety — and give vehicle manufacturers and operators, as well as airspace service providers, insights into the regulatory and operational environment.
Specifically, the Wisk partnership will address critical safety scenarios focusing on autonomous flight and contingency management, including collision avoidance and flight path management.
NASA and Wisk will evaluate architectures, perform simulation studies and develop an overall validation framework that can be used for autonomous flight assessments.
NASA brought Wisk into the fold because of its eVTOL development experience, automation technologies and flight test capabilities, combined with a safety-first mindset.
Since 2010, Wisk has been developing and testing its all-electric, self-flying aircraft to create flight-based solutions that address the growing urban mobility crisis in an accessible and sustainable manner.
Based in California and New Zealand, Wisk is backed by Boeing and Larry Page's Kitty Hawk Corporation.
After COVID-19 put a freeze on operations, Wisk resumed flight testing in June in both the U.S. and New Zealand. The company has already performed more than 1,400 test flights.
The Advanced Air Mobility National Campaign is formerly known as the UAM Grand Challenge. NASA now has 18 partners as part of the effort, with another five currently in discussions to join the campaign and an additional 13 interested parties.