Officials In Wales And South East Queensland Envision Automatic eVTOL Operations In Australia
A white paper by Wisk Aero and the South East Queensland Council of Mayors (COMSEQ) explains how advanced air mobility (AAM) can bring opportunities and benefits to the Australian region.
Since July 2022, when COMSEQ and Wisk signed a memorandum of understanding in which they pledged to collaborate for the introduction of AAM in Australia, the two entities have been working together to create accessible, autonomous, and sustainable flight options.
In anticipation of hosting the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games, Brisbane, the capital and most populous city of South East Queensland, has already been identified as a likely early adopter of eVTOL operations. In order to support those air taxi operations, several companies are developing vertiports, including Melbourne-based Skyportz.
Australia's South East Queensland region is one of its fastest-growing regions. Located in the easternmost part of the country, it covers an area of 35,248 square kilometers (13,609 square miles). As of 2041, its population will rise to 5.4 million from its current 3.8 million. The demand for transportation services in the region is expected to grow by 30 percent by 2031, according to a study conducted by COMSEQ in 2019.
With urban and regional centers spread across the state, South East Queensland offers significant opportunities for air taxi services, according to a new white paper. A low-cost, sustainable, and accessible mode of transportation would be provided by electric air taxi services to the region, which is largely underserved by aviation. In addition to creating new jobs for the area's growing population, the adoption of AAM also offers economic opportunities.
“Brisbane Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner said that his work with Wisk sends a clear message to the rest of the world that the region is open to business. As the 2032 Brisbane Olympic and Paralympic Games draw closer, we are the place to go for global innovation and technology.
"We understand that technology is transforming the way we live, and we want South East Queensland to benefit from opportunities that will improve our region's connectivity, our local environment, and our liveability. A regional transport network integrating this technology will complement rail and metro services. It also presents an opportunity to unlock the South East’s tourism market by providing new connections between our coast, island, and rural destinations.”
The Wisk air taxi was developed in 2019 by Boeing and Kittyhawk as a partnership to carry four passengers on short trips of up to 25 miles (40 kilometers) without a pilot.
In October 2022, the company will reveal its first production aircraft, called Generation 6, based on its unpiloted, two-seat prototype called Cora. According to the white paper published in September, the company envisions an urban air mobility ecosystem with pilotless air taxis.
In South East Queensland, Wise and COMSEQ envision an AAM ecosystem where eVTOL air taxis would complement existing transportation options and infrastructure still being developed, such as Brisbane Metro’s new fleet of electric buses and subways, and Cross River Rail, a planned underground rail system that will be completed by 2025 in Brisbane. For people who live in remote areas like Scenic Rim, Somerset, Toowoomba, and Lockyer Valley with less robust transportation infrastructure, air taxi services can also provide shorter commute times.
AAM is a great opportunity for Queensland, said Catherine MacGowan, Wisk's Asia Pacific regional director. The AAM sector will create important economic opportunities and transportation linkages that will help the region develop sustainably as it experiences unprecedented growth."