Archer’s flying taxi makes a flying debut in a bustling market

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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Archer Aviation on Thursday unveiled its first electric “Maker” flying taxi in a Tesla-style premiere, as a growing number of investors and aviation companies crowd into space. urban air mobility in vogue but not yet approved.

Interest in zero-emission planes that take off and land like helicopters but fly like airplanes is growing as aerospace companies seek new markets and come under pressure to help decarbonize their industry through battery-powered vehicles.

Maker’s debut, staged in a hangar using XR technology to simulate a journey, followed the announcement on Thursday of two separate deals involving UK-based electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) companies and in Brazil.

Archer’s plane doesn’t fly commercially yet, but he’s put on an extravagant show under the direction of a new Creative Director who has decades of experience in experiential design and television production, Kenny Taht, for draw attention.

Archer anticipates Maker’s commercial launch in 2024 in Los Angeles and Miami and is in the process of certifying the four-passenger plane flown with the Federal Aviation Administration, co-founder and co-CEO Brett Adcock told Reuters.

“Our real goal is to create a mass transportation solution in and around cities,” Adcock said.

Taxis can fly at 150 miles per hour (240 km per hour) for distances of up to 60 miles (100 km) at an entry-level price of between US $ 3 and US $ 4 per passenger-mile.

In New York, for example, the 17-mile trip from John F. Kennedy International Airport to Manhattan would cost between US $ 50 and $ 70 and would take about five to seven minutes compared to 60 to 90 minutes by car.

While experts estimate the eVTOL market to be worth billions over the next decade, it is not expected to make money immediately and the timing of regulatory approval remains uncertain.

Asked about the approval process, the FAA said, “The FAA can certify new technologies such as eVTOL through its existing regulations. We may issue special conditions or additional requirements, depending on the type of project. “

As the market heats up, so does the competition.

Archer is currently involved in a legal battle with Boeing-backed competitor Wisk Aero, which accused him of stealing trade secrets and violating his patents.

Archer last week asked a California court to dismiss the lawsuit and sued Wisk for “misrepresentation” regarding a separate criminal investigation.

Archer plans to go public through a US $ 3.8 billion merger with blank check company Atlas Crest and has a US $ 1 billion investment and order from United Airlines.

(Reporting by Omar Younis in Los Angeles and Tracy Rucinski in Chicago; edited by Lincoln Feast.)

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