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Boeing invests $450 million in electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) company

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Wisk Aero CEO Gary Gysin joins Yahoo Finance Live to discuss the electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) company's partnership with Boeing.

Video Transcript

ADAM SHAPIRO: I mean, there's nothing more aggravating than hailing a cab, especially in a city like New York. You get in, you're ready to go, and boom, you sit in traffic. And you sit and you sit. But the future is here, $450 million from Boeing.

Just ask Wisk Aero CEO Gary Gysin. Because forget the streets-- electrified air flying cabs are on their way. Good to have you here. Help me because I was sitting in a cab and sitting and sitting and sitting, and I want your vehicles. They've flown. You've tested, what, five different variations. Number 6 is coming. When do we actually get to use them?

GARY GYSIN: Yeah, thank you, Adam. Thanks for having me. And I'm honored to be on for your final day. So I'm honored to be part of your agenda for this afternoon. What we're doing, Wisk is a joint venture between the Boeing company and Larry Page's Kitty Hawk. We're building an all-electric, self-flying air taxi. And so the problem we're trying to solve is exactly the one you just described. You're stuck in a cab, you're stuck in your car.

Not only is it a long journey, it could be hour, hour and a half, two hours that you're in commute. But the other part of it is the predictability of it. You don't actually know when you're going to get to your destination. And so that is the problem we are trying to solve. This takes a while to get certified. And so working with the FAA, working with government agencies, and so we've got a few years yet before this is going to be in service. But this market is hot. There's a lot of activity and a lot of investment dollars going into this segment.

EMILY MCCORMICK: Gary, this is Emily here. As you mentioned, Boeing is both an investor and a strategic partner with Wisk. What has it been like working with that team over at Boeing? And how has that helped inform the direction that Wisk is taking?

GARY GYSIN: Yeah, so it's been a fantastic partnership. So Emily, to your point, this isn't just about financing the company. This is about having a partnership with the number one aerospace leader. The benefit they bring, you can think of Silicon Valley, innovation, anything is possible, coupled with the largest aerospace player that has been there, done that, has certified aircraft, knows how to provide a safe experience.

And so we are all about passenger carrying commercial service. And we're partnering with Boeing to bring that to fruition. Not only with resources-- we have part of their engineering team as part of our development team, but also some of their previous products that they've built, the know-how, the experience they have with the FAA, et cetera.

ADAM SHAPIRO: When we take the technology of self-- I was going to say driving, but self-flying vehicles and marry it with electrification, do you think there'd be any kind of curve with the public? It seems like a lot of us are very quickly accepting-- range anxiety seems to be gone now that electric vehicles are everywhere. What about the self-driving or self-flying part of it?

GARY GYSIN: Yeah, no, absolutely. I mean, it's a good point. We know-- what the public doesn't know much about is that 93% of commercial aviation is already automated. And so that the technology actually exists. And when there are aviation accidents, which is very rare, over 80% of those accidents are human error. So this is-- while people might be nervous-- hey, I'm going to get into an aircraft that doesn't have a pilot-- it is actually far safer than an aircraft that does have a pilot. And so we--

EMILY MCCORMICK: What--

GARY GYSIN: We work hard with local communities, any city that we're going to enter, start to do the research, start to do the education about how much safer this is as a mode of transportation, and bring those parties along.

EMILY MCCORMICK: And so what actually is the market size that you're projecting for this space specifically? And when do you see it really maturing into that TAM that you're thinking about for Wisk?

GARY GYSIN: Yeah, this is a massive market. So it's estimated by most analysts as a $4 trillion market by 2035. So this is just big stuff. The key here is making it affordable. And so where you would see other services that are premium services, aviation services, our goal here is to make this an everyday mode of transportation for commuting purpose or any transportation purposes. So it has to be affordable.

And the key part, being an electric platform allows us-- there are less moving parts. There are less maintenance, less operating costs, and not having a pilot. So if our operating costs are lower, we can charge less. We can broaden our reach to the masses. And our goal is to have-- you know, college students, somebody just entering the workforce, they can afford this as an everyday mode of transportation.

ADAM SHAPIRO: What is it like in your work with the FAA? Are they in favor and behind you? Or are they putting up roadblocks as you go forward with this?

GARY GYSIN: No, we're very much in partnership with the FAA. And we have been engaged with them for several years already, even though this is not going to launch for several years. Engaging with them, it is a partnership. They do inform us in terms of what our development should be, how we should approach this, reasonable expectations of certification.

And so, no, I've been very pleasantly surprised with the support that we've gotten with the FAA and other regulators throughout the globe. People-- this will happen, and the FAA knows this will happen. And so they're working with leading companies like this to make sure that we produce a safe and certifiable solution.

EMILY MCCORMICK: How much does the growth for Wisk depend on infrastructure advances taking place in the actual urban areas where you're trying to scale the company?

GARY GYSIN: Yeah, it's actually interesting, Emily. We don't need a whole lot. And so there are a lot of general aviation airports. There are a lot of unused helipads. There are international airports that we can leverage. And so if you think about it, what we have to add is electric charging stations. And we have to add an ability to unload and offload passengers. And that's about it.

And so, you know, we think this is-- you don't have to build a fancy new vertiport. You don't have to have brand new infrastructure. You can actually leverage existing infrastructure. And I think on one of your last segments when you talked about crumbling infrastructure and bridges crumbling and that sort of thing, this is what this is intended to solve. We're going to the air. And we're going to lessen the burden on our existing roadway infrastructure by making this an everyday commute option.

ADAM SHAPIRO: This may be actually well down the road, but are you scouting out locations in major cities? I mean, some people might be afraid of going to the top of a building where the wind is blowing pretty high. But are you scouting out the locations for take-off, landing, all of that?

GARY GYSIN: Yeah, absolutely. And we're engaged in discussions with those cities now with local governments, with the state governments. We've got a 20-city rollout plan. We haven't announced that yet, but we do have our plan. We are engaged with the initial cities where we're going to launch the service.

ADAM SHAPIRO: It's really cool, and I have a brother and a nephew who are both private pilots. So they would definitely love this, although they wouldn't like the self-flying part of it. Gary Gysin, Wisk Aero CEO, all the best to you. And I look forward to taking a ride in one of these when I no longer have to sit in traffic.