SEQ councils in deal to develop autonomous air taxi service

South East Queensland councils have entered a partnership with a global autonomous aircraft company to develop an electronic self-flying air taxi service.

Adrian Schrinner

The memorandum between the South East Queensland Council of Mayors and advanced air mobility company Wisk will see the two organisations working together to develop what the councils say will be a safe, sustainable and scaleable autonomous air service for South East Queensland by 2032.

The US and New Zealand based company is developing a self-flying eVTOL (electric vertical take-of and landing) air taxi in what will be a first for Australia.

Work needed around safety, regulation

Council of Mayors SEQ Chair and Brisbane Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner says there’s still “plenty of work to do” around regulation and safety, but it’s hoped that autonomous air services will be operating though the region during the Brisbane 2032 Olympics.

“We expect to see the emergence of advanced air technology in places like Singapore, Paris and Los Angeles, and by 2032, I’d love to see it supporting new and innovative experiences for tourism and travel right here in South East Queensland,” he said.

“The prospect of having autonomous air taxis operating throughout our region and between venues during the Brisbane2032 Games is really exciting.”

Engagement with local government

He said the MOU will support engagement with councils in the region with regards to community consultation, planning and regulation.

“This collaborative approach will be critical to the industry’s investment and rollout across our region in the future,” he said.

Wisk is based the San Franciso Bay area and New Zealand and is backed by multinational aerospace giant The Boeing Company and US personal aircraft manufacturer Kitty Hawk Corporation.

It has run more than 1550 test flights and has developed a fifth-generation aircraft which is currently on display in Brisbane.

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