A new urban air mobility startup has been operating in secret with aims to begin testing its own electric VTOL aircraft by 2021
- A new
urban air mobilitystartup, Archer, was publicly announced on Thursday with aims to create a sustainable electric vertical take-off and land aircraft.
- Archer was started by entrepreneurs Brett Adcock and Adam Goldstein with engineers from established industry leaders like Joby, Wisk, Airbus, and others, developing the eVTOL.
- The new aircraft will be able to fly 60 miles with four passengers at speeds of around 150 miles per hour, the company's founders told Business Insider.
The urban air mobility field has a new entrant, a startup named Archer.
It's been operating behind the scenes but has a new vertical take-off and land aircraft that will be ready to take to the skies in 2021.
Archer officially went public on Thursday, announcing its goal of creating a sustainable electric vertical take-off and land aircraft, known as
The startup was formed by two entrepreneurs, Brett Adcock and Adam Goldstein, who told Business Insider in an interview that the endeavor is likely the most important of their 12-year partnership. Despite having a limited
Adcock and Goldstein previously founded job marketplace Vettery, which later sold for around $100 million to a larger European staffing firm.
Surrounding the two entrepreneurs are heavy-hitters from across the industry that will help differentiate Archer from its competitors, with the team acknowledging in an interview with Business Insider that the eVTOLs are "a difficult product to actually take to market." Part of its engineering team of 44 strong include veterans from Joby, Airbus, and even NASA, the duo told Business Insider.
Urban air mobility is an increasingly crowded field but has still yet to deliver on most of its promises with VTOLs beyond traditional helicopters. Most of the aircraft being developed by leaders in the industry such as Joby Aviation, Jaunt Air Mobility, and Leonardo have yet to be certified or perform any passenger flights in an urban air mobility setting, though flight and certification tests are currently underway for aircraft like the Leonardo AW609 tilt rotor.
Taking some of the best in the
The startup is still in its early stages with flight testing for the new aircraft set to begin next year at Archer's San Francisco Bay Area facility, an area known for VTOL innovation. The region was the last market in which Airbus' urban air mobility division Voom had expanded to before shuttering operations due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Archer plans to design, manufacturer, and operate the new VTOLs, of which very little is publicly known but materials state it can fly at speeds of 150 miles per hour for up to 60 miles. The electric aircraft can also fly four passengers with average weights of around 225 pounds with each bringing 25 pounds of additional luggage, the entrepreneurs told Business Insider, flown by only one pilot.
In between trips, the aircraft will spend around 20 minutes to unload, recharge, and load back up again for the return flight. The company plans to reveal the final design at a later date, with a timeline of around five years before market entry.
Unlike rival startups, Archer is sticking primarily to intra-city transport and focusing on adapting its eVTOL to that market first before considering expanding between cities. The founders stated that Dallas, Texas, and Los Angeles will be likely first markets thanks to their fair-weather climates and the region's need for alternative
The first phase when launching the new aircraft will likely be using existing heliport infrastructure and then potentially investing in more heliports, or "vertiports," to expand the bounds of the operation.
Safety will be a critical factor as the nascent industry will be dependent on consumer confidence and even one catastrophic incident could be enough to ground the entire field. To prevent that from happening, the founders believe that urban air mobility operators will need to work together.
"I think, though, as a community, we're going to have to work together on this to make sure there are no catastrophic events," Goldstein said.
Data from Airbus' Voom shows that urban air mobility concepts with helicopters proved successful in drawing people to the skies but eVTOLs are still new to most, with no current mainstream examples of one operating for commercial-use in the way Archer intends.
The aircraft themselves will be built with additional safety features to ensure that customers have confidence in the new aircraft as they would the traditional helicopters that eVTOLs seek to replace.
"What we've done is built redundancy into our system, meaning the aircraft can tolerate component failures, and can still operate safely," Goldstein continued. "And so, we will be designing towards the same safety targets as commercial airliners."
With six full-scale models of the eVTOL, the next step once the flying model is complete will be flight testing, which the entrepreneurs said will take place likely late next year. Archer will have to get regulators such as the Federal Aviation Administration on board. After that, finally, is selling the product to consumers.
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