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Boeing’s Wisk Aero buys Verocel to boost software safety for self-flying eVTOL
June 29, 2024

Boeing’s Wisk Aero buys Verocel to boost software safety for self-flying eVTOL

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Wisk Aero, a subsidiary of Boeing, has acquired Verocel, a software verification and validation company with 25 years of experience in the aerospace industry. 

Wisk has an autonomous-first approach to eVTOL. The company’s Generation 6 aircraft, which is slated to begin airborne tests this year, is designed to be supervised by humans, but not physically flown by them. 

That means, perhaps more than other companies building electric vertical takeoff and landing vehicles, Wisk needs to ensure its software is up to snuff. 

The Verocel team, which is made up of about 60 people who will now all fall under the Wisk umbrella, has deep expertise in DO-178C, a standard that provides guidelines for developing safety-critical software for airborne systems. 

DO-178C certification is one element of the Federal Aviation Administration’s type certification process, which would certify that an aircraft has met all design and safety standards. Wisk said Verocel’s expertise can not only help the company certify its Gen 6 aircraft, but also help with future software developments at Boeing. 

To make the certification process easier, Verocel also offers a toolset called VeroTrace, which helps track and manage the life-cycle of software development and verification efforts, all the way through to regulatory approval. 

Neither Wisk nor Verocel shared the financial terms of the deal, which is reminiscent of competitor Joby Aviation’s 2022 acquisition of Avionyx, an aerospace software engineering firm. In their acquisitions, both Wisk and Joby valued becoming more vertically integrated while also bringing on the necessary expertise to test and validate their software to accelerate the path towards federal certification. 

Verifying and validating all of Wisk’s software is one piece of building and operating an autonomous airplane safety, Yutko said, noting that Wisk aims to commercialize its self-flying eVTOLs by 2030. 

The company is already working to set up the infrastructure to operate air taxis. 
In February, Wisk partnered with Sugar Land, a city close to Houston, to identify and assess a location at the city’s regional airport for the development of vertiport infrastructure for future air taxi operations. Earlier this month, Wisk then established a memorandum of understanding of Houston Airports to consider locations for vertiport infrastructure that could help serve the greater Houston area.


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