Small Scale Aircraft Technology Takes Flight

Once considered only possible in science fiction, small scale aircraft development has been increasing at a rapid rate thanks to advances in technology.

Wisk, a unit of Boeing Co., has been testing an autonomous electric aircraft it calls Cora. The vehicle takes off and lands like a helicopter and being tested for four years at its base in New Zealand. The company has been in talks with regulators, including the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, to get approval for its use as an air taxi. The vehicle can carry two passengers with a range of 100 km and speeds up to 150 km/h.

Netherlands-based PAL-V follows a different approach with its Liberty model. It’s a two seat gyroplane that can both go on land and air. The vehicle has received approval for use on European roads this year. Delivery to customers will begin in 2023 after they complete required training.

The “advanced air mobility market” is expected to reach a value of $17 billion by 2025 and $110 billion by 2035, according to research. It is estimated that piloted vehicles will have more than three quarters of market share in 2025, but between 2025 and 2035 development of autonomous vehicles will grow rapidly.

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