United Airlines to Fly People from Cities to Airport in 2025

eVTOL start-up, Archer, is to go public soon via a merger with “a blank-check company” backed by a USD3.8 billion deal including a major order and investment from United Airlines (UA), reports reuters.com. UA is among the first leading airlines to commit to the purchase of air taxis.

An Archer deal with Atlas Crest Investment announced this week, is expected to provide USD1.1 billion. These monies include USD600 million private investment from United Airlines Holdings, Stellantis, and investment banker Ken Moelis and Mubadala Capital, an arm of Abu Dhabi’s state investor Mubadala Investment Co.

This ‘heavyweight deal’ is the latest in an increasingly crowded market dominated by aerospace companies and tech start-ups. Archer explained it has received an order from United Airlines worth USD1 billion alongside an option for additional USD500 million of eVTOL aircraftUnited is teaming up with regional carrier, Mesa Airlines, to buy 200 Archer eVTOL craft to fly people from cities to airports within the next four to five years. Raymond James, a financial analyst, pointed out,  “Given the electric aircraft market is in its infancy, it will take time to refine the product and get the regulatory approvals.

U.S Palo Alto-based Archer was only launched last May and is developing an eVTOL aircraft that can travel up to 60 miles at 150 mph (242 km/h). Yet, it is already attracting extraordinary interest from some of the biggest investors in the world. The company is backed by Marc Lore, former CEO of Walmart eCommerce U.S.

Source: https://www.archer.com/
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https://www.urbanairmobilitynews.com/

Air Taxi Will Offer 15-Minute Rides In 25 Cities Next Year

We were promised jetpacks, but let’s be honest, they’re just plain unsafe. So a nice drone ride is probably all we should reasonably expect. Lift Aircraft is the latest to make a play for the passenger multirotor market, theoretical as it is, and its craft is a sleek little thing with some interesting design choices to make it suitable for laypeople to “pilot.”

The Austin-based company just took the wraps off the Hexa, the 18-rotor craft it intends to make available for short recreational flights. It just flew for the first time last month, and could be taking passengers aloft as early as next year.

The Hexa is considerably more lightweight than the aircraft that seemed to be getting announced every month or two earlier this year. Lift’s focus isn’t on transport, which is a phenomenally complicated problem both in terms of regulation and engineering. Instead, it wants to simply make the experience of flying in a giant drone available for thrill-seekers with a bit of pocket money.

This reduced scope means the craft can get away with being just 432 pounds and capable of 10-15 minutes of sustained flight with a single passenger. Compared with Lilium’s VTOL engines or Volocopter’s 36-foot wingspan, this thing looks like a toy. And that’s essentially what it is, for now. But there’s something to be said for proving your design in a comparatively easily accessed market and moving up, rather than trying to invent an air taxi business from scratch.

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Multi-seat eVTOL air taxis, especially those that are designed to transition to wing-borne flight, are probably 10 years away and will require new regulations and significant advances in battery technology to be practical and safe. We didn’t want to wait for major technology or regulatory breakthroughs to start flying,” said CEO Matt Chasen in a news release. “We’ll be flying years before anyone else.”

The Hexa is flown with a single joystick and an iPad; direct movements and attitude control are done with the former, while destination-based movement, take-off and landing take place on the latter. This way people can go from walking in the front door to flying one of these things — or rather riding in one and suggesting some directions to go — in an hour or so.

It’s small enough that it doesn’t even count as a “real” aircraft; it’s a “powered ultralight,” which is a plus and a minus: no pilot’s license necessary, but you can’t go past a few hundred feet of altitude or fly over populated areas. No doubt there’s still a good deal of fun you can have flying around a sort of drone theme park, though. The whole area will have been 3D mapped prior to flight, of course.

Source: https://www.liftaircraft.com/
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https://techcrunch.com/