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Wisk Aero Unveils Four-Seat Autonomous Air Taxi

The Boeing-backed startup hopes that with FAA certification, it will soon be able to launch a viable air taxi service.

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wisk aero unveils four-seat autonomous air taxi
Wisk Aero

Wisk Aero may not yet be a household name, but the company has been around since 2019, and has just unveiled its 6th generation aircraft — a small electric 4-seat machine that can fly without any form of human intervention.

The company was originally a joint venture involving Boeing, and the now defunct flying taxi startup Kitty Hawk, initially funded by Google co-founder Larry Page. The Wisk plane is currently seeking FAA approval for passenger testing and will be the first ever electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) plane to receive certification.

Wisk’s latest design is unusual, featuring 6 five-bladed front rotors that can be tilted horizontally or vertically and the same arrangement at the rear (albeit two-bladed and fixed vertically). The plane has a cruising speed of 120 knots, combined with a 90-mile (140KM) range, and flies at a low altitude of 2.5 to 4 thousand feet.

So what does the future hold for Wisk’s autonomous air taxi? Eventually, the company hopes that clients will be able to hail the aircraft via a bespoke app, in a similar manner to an Uber. The plane will take off and land vertically, making it perfect for city applications, where it could easily launch and land from the rooftops of high-rise buildings.

Also Read: Airbus Has Revealed Its CityAirbus NextGen Flying Taxi

Weight remains a big issue for electric aircraft, due to the hefty mass of the batteries that need to be carried. Aviation fuel has a far better power-to-weight ratio than even the most modern lithium-ion batteries, so it remains tricky to make aircraft like Wisk’s viable. Wisk Aero has made encouraging progress so far and maintains the ambitious goal of carrying out 14 million taxi journeys in 20 global markets over the next five years.

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Binance Receives Virtual Assets License To Operate In Dubai

As its user base nears 200 million, CEO Richard Teng believes crypto adoption will soar over the next half of the decade.

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binance receives virtual assets license to operate in dubai

Global crypto exchange Binance has been granted a full operational license in Dubai, in a move that’s expected to accelerate digital asset adoption and strengthen the UAE’s regulatory landscape.

The virtual asset service provider license (VASP) was granted by the Dubai Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA) and will allow Binance to extend its current range of services to retail investors, the company announced yesterday.

The move by Dubai authorities will be critical to Binance’s strategy of growing its user base globally. The crypto exchange expects to pass the 200 million user mark “quite shortly”, according to Richard Teng, the company’s CEO.

Once that milestone is achieved, Binance will have around twice as many users as rival platform Coinbase. Meanwhile, Crypto.com, another popular exchange with 80 million users, received a Dubai VASP license last week.

“We’re seeing much greater institutional adoption and institutional money coming into this space [along with] much greater regulatory clarity and a lot more jurisdictions approving [digital asset] products that bring in new investor classes,” Binance’s Richard Tang explained, adding: “As of now, we stand at about 5% crypto adoption globally, but that will become much faster moving forward”.

Also Read: Microsoft Invests $1.5 Billion In Abu Dhabi AI Tech Firm G42

Dubai and the UAE are extremely supportive of technologies like digital assets, and have already launched initiatives to boost adoption. The UAE has ambitious plans to become a world leader in the crypto economy of the future, with Dubai in particular being noteworthy for passing a new law to regulate virtual assets to support investors and exchanges.

“Global crypto regulation is currently showing diverging signs. Some developed countries have long suffered from crypto-related frauds and illegal exchanges. On the other hand, emerging nations like the UAE and Singapore have enacted crypto laws at faced pace,” said Vijay Valecha, chief investment officer of Dubai-based Century Financial.

As the UAE gears up to become one of the fastest-growing crypto capitals worldwide, investors and talent are flocking to places like Dubai. During 2023, the Emirates as a whole realized $204 million in capital gains from cryptocurrency investments, according to blockchain data analysts Chainalysis.

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