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Archer's flying taxi makes splashy debut in heated market

Stock MarketsJun 11, 2021 11:27AM ET
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5/5 © Reuters. The electric motors of flying taxi company Archer Aviation, are seen on one of the wings of their all-electric aircraft from inside a facility in Hawthorne, California, U.S. June 8, 2021. REUTERS/Mike Blake 2/5

By Omar Younis and Tracy Rucinski

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Archer Aviation unveiled its first electric flying taxi "Maker" in a Tesla-style debut on Thursday as an increasing number of investors and aviation companies pile into the hot but yet-to-be-approved urban air mobility space.

Interest in zero-emission aircraft that take off and land like helicopters but fly like planes is growing as aerospace companies look for new markets and face pressure to help decarbonize their industry though the battery-operated vehicles.

Maker's debut, staged at a hangar using XR technology to simulate a ride, followed news on Thursday of two separate deals involving electric Vertical Take-Off and Landing (eVTOL) aircraft companies based in Britain and Brazil.

Archer's aircraft does not yet fly commercially but it mounted an extravagant show under a new chief creative officer who has decades of experience in experiential design and television production, Kenny Taht, to attract attention.

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

"Our real goal is to make a mass market transportation solution in and around cities," Adcock said.

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

In New York City for example, the 17-mile trip from John F. Kennedy International Airport to Manhattan would cost $50 to $70 and take around five to seven minutes versus 60 to 90 minutes in a car.

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

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

As the market heats up, so has competition.

Archer is currently embroiled in a legal battle with Boeing-backed competitor Wisk Aero, which has accused it of stealing trade secrets and infringing on its patents.

Archer last week asked a California court to dismiss the lawsuit and courtersued Wisk for "false statements" regarding a separate criminal probe.

Archer plans to go public through a $3.8 billion merger with blank-check company Atlas (NYSE:ATCO) Crest and has an investment and $1 billion order from United Airlines.

Archer's flying taxi makes splashy debut in heated market
 

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Comments (10)
Jonas Meyer
Jonas Meyer Jun 14, 2021 6:09AM ET
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Valuable information. I am lucky that I accidentally found your site and am shocked why this did not happen sooner! I have bookmarked this. One more service I like to recommend is Skeddy, since they provid eaffiliate program details, please visit https://skeddy.net/partner-program/
Roger Miller
Roger Miller Jun 11, 2021 12:10PM ET
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It doesn’t sound like it would be as efficient for shorter trips, where a Self driving taxi would be much more efficient and profitable do to no driver/pilot.
TL Chan
TL Chan Jun 10, 2021 11:46PM ET
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To be short, this has much more possibility and potential than the pure hype talk of Tesla robo taxi.
TL Chan
TL Chan Jun 10, 2021 11:41PM ET
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Due to the air is entire seperate transportation domain, all flying vehicles would be hooked up to the master air control system, and I predict the world would jump pass surface robo taxi, and directly to flying taxi or flying robo taxi, on a technology and ethical technology stand.points.
TL Chan
TL Chan Jun 10, 2021 11:38PM ET
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The road and surface infrastructure would need to remodel for safety and efficiency too!
TL Chan
TL Chan Jun 10, 2021 11:36PM ET
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The safety is now depends on path control system, collision and crash proof tech, the 5G connectivity, the power system integrity and emergency recover safety tech etc.
TL Chan
TL Chan Jun 10, 2021 11:32PM ET
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This is not helicopter play. To serve as urban flying taxi , the competition is on infrastructure, the stations and the transit, the whole system.
TL Chan
TL Chan Jun 10, 2021 11:31PM ET
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This is not helicopter play. To serve as urban, the competition is on infrastructure, the stations and the transit, the whole system.
Tyler Phillis
Tyler Phillis Jun 10, 2021 11:18PM ET
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Nothing is emission free. The emissions from EV’s come out of the factories that build them, the mining machines that extract the raw materials, and the refineries that turn the raw materials to usable resources.
Kaveh Sun
Kaveh Sun Jun 10, 2021 10:40PM ET
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It is a small hellicopter nothing more. Reuters pumps
 
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