Archer Aviation, a developer of electric vertical take-off and landing or eVTOL aircraft, unveiled its autonomous electric two-seater aircraft, named “Maker”, marking a milestone towards its commercial launch.
The California-based air mobility company, which has already received orders from United Airlines, will use its inaugural aircraft prototype for testing as it works towards certification of a larger piloted five-seater announced in March 2020.
The company revealed its first urban air mobility vehicle at a virtual event in Los Angeles, along with a livestream.
Archer earlier said its Urban Air Mobility or UAM platform will move people throughout cities in a fast, safe, sustainable, and cost-effective manner.
An eVTOL aircraft is capable of electric vertical take-off and landing, which means it doesn’t need a runway and can be launched from helipads. The Maker transitions to fixed-wing flight like an airplane once in the air. The fully electric aircraft, designed to be 100x quieter than a helicopter, will travel distances of up to 60 miles at 150 mph.
The company expects to complete the first Maker test flights in the fourth quarter this year, and to kick off manufacturing of the larger production craft sometime in 2022. The company plans to launch consumer flights in 2024.
eVTOL aircraft has the potential for future use as an air taxi in urban markets.
Archer said its recently announced merger with Atlas Crest Investment Corp. (ACIC) and commercial order from United Airlines values the company at $3.8 billion. In February, the startup entered into deal with United Airlines, which plans to add Electric Aircraft taxis to its operation by fiscal 2026. The airline and Mesa Airlines would acquire a fleet of up to 200 of these electric aircraft.
United estimates that using Archer’s eVTOL aircraft could reduce CO2 emissions by 47 percent per passenger on a trip between Hollywood and Los Angeles International Airport, one of the initial cities where Archer plans to launch its fleet.
Archer also has a definitive OEM agreement with Stellantis, which grants the company access to the low-cost supply chain and advanced composite material capabilities needed to produce aircrafts at the scale to support the company’s future UAM platform.
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