First ConOps for vertiports and autonomous air taxis released


Autonomous eVTOL aircraft developer Wisk Aero and vertiport company Skyports have released the first Concept of Operations for autonomous air taxis and vertiports.

Wisk and Skyports are partnering to integrate autonomous eVTOL aircraft operations at vertiports and other ground-based infrastructure.

Vertiports – landing sites for eVTOL aircraft will initially launch with piloted vehicles. However, the aim of many commercial passenger eVTOL aircraft, also known as air taxis, is to eventually produce autonomous aircraft.

Wisk itself is developing an autonomous air taxi, the latest version of which is called Cora. The company, which earlier this year received US$450 million of funding from Boeing has previously targeted 2030 as entry into service for its autonomous eVTOL aircraft, but has more recently shied away from stating timelines for its project.

Skyports, which was founded in 2018, develops ground infrastructure for eVTOL aircraft and drones. The company is involved in several vertiport projects in Europe and the USA, including a project to build one of the first vertiports in the world in Paris for the next Olympics in 2024.

A ConOps can broadly be defined as a blueprint for the way air traffic operations and handling will work safely at an airport, or in this case vertiport. The Skyports / Wisk ConOps document can be downloaded here.

The ConOps identifies how autonomous eVTOL aircraft and operators will integrate with vertiports, including interactions with Providers of Services for urban air mobility (UAM). It also outlines the upgrades, retrofits, and procedure changes that will be required to accommodate safe operations for autonomous eVTOL aircraft.

In addition it defines the journey of an autonomous eVTOL aircraft and its relationship to UAM-specific, aircraft-agnostic infrastructure and the necessary systems and interactions between the aircraft, the aircraft’s fleet operator, and the vertiport.

Gary Gysin, CEO of Wisk said, “It is critical that future operations are autonomous for safety, scalability, and affordability. 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.”

Duncan Walker, CEO of Skyports said, “It is important that infrastructure built today can accommodate the aircraft of tomorrow.

“The ConOps and our continued work on the development of vehicle-agnostic vertiports and ground-based infrastructure will ensure that this industry is well prepared to safely integrate autonomous operations in the future.”

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Ben has worked all of his career as a journalist and now editor, covering almost all aspects of technology, engineering and industry. In the last 20 years he has written on subjects from nuclear submarines and autonomous cars to future design and manufacturing technologies and commercial aviation. Latterly editor of a leading engineering magazine, he brings an eye for a great story and lots of experience to the team.

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