10 Mar 2023
Representatives from several prominent AAM developers attended the UP.Summit, a gathering in northwest Arkansas focused on the future of mobility. The annual event, which took place on June 6–8, seeks to offer entrepreneurs an opportunity to propose technology-based solutions to investors and industry leaders. Although the summit itself was invitation-only, a community day was held on June 5 at Thaden Field in Bentonville, Arkansas, where a number of eVTOL aircraft were displayed, including the Wisk Cora (shown) and the Beta Alia-250, which was flown 1,355 miles (2,181 km) to the event (see "Beta Flies Across the Country," Vertiflite, July/August 2022) and gave a flight demonstration.
The UP.Summit was first held in 2017 and rotates annually between Bentonville and Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas. It is organized by UP.Partners, an early stage venture capital firm, and this year co-hosted by Tom and Steuart Walton, co-founders of RCZ Investments and heirs to the Walmart fortune. More than 250 guests attended the conference, which featured demonstrations of mobility-focused technologies, such as autonomous cars, drones and eVTOL aircraft.
Of the companies developing eVTOL aircraft, Beta, Joby, Volocopter and Wisk were among those in attendance at UP.Summit. Volocopter took the opportunity to announce the maiden flight of its VoloConnect fixed-wing aircraft.
In addition to eVTOL developers, the conference also featured entrepreneurs working on other technologies meant to make flying more sustainable. These included Electra Aero, Pipistrel, Whisper Aero and ZeroAvia. The diverse collection of companies present in Arkansas is a reflection of the UP.Summit’s goal of promoting “cleaner, faster, safer, and lower cost mobility solutions.”