Karem Aircraft has raised $25 million in its Series A to develop the Butterfly Air Taxi. Selected by Uber last year for the UberAIR Initiative, Karem’s new venture is entirely focused on bringing its air taxi to market as soon as possible. 

Karem Aircraft’s Butterfly

The latest funding round was led by Korean defense technology company Hanwha Systems, which recently placed a $25 million equity investment in another UAM venture as well. “Karem’s technology for making safe, quiet, and efficient air taxi vehicles excites all of us,” Uber Elevate head Eric Allison said in a statement. “Hanwha’s Series A investment in Karem’s new air taxi entity accelerates efforts to bring the Butterfly to market, and we look forward to flying riders in places like Dallas, Los Angeles, and Melbourne in the near future.”

Karem Butterfly
A small scale model of the Karem Butterfly at the Uber Elevate 2019 conference in Washington D.C.

According to Uber, the UberAIR partner air taxis should be ready for testing by next year, and should be commercially available in Los Angeles, Dallas, and Melbourne, Australia by 2023. To meet this deadline, Karem Aircraft is now solely focused on developing the Butterfly, the electric quad tiltrotor specifically designed for UberAIR.

karem

“The new company will be able to focus exclusively on bringing Butterfly to market, leveraging Karem’s optimum speed rotor technology, Hanwha’s industrial scale, and Uber’s ridesharing network,” says Ben Tigner, CEO of the new venture. “We look forward to the day when riders will be able to commute to work by flying above the traffic in one of our vehicles. Karem Aircraft  will continue to serve the needs of its military customers; we are confident that each company is on a path for long-term success so that our technology can be applied in two distinct but important use cases.”

Why it’s important: Uber has placed a high priority on the development of an air taxi service in urban areas. With 2023 approaching quickly, it is very important to ensure safety, efficiency, and quality control with Uber’s intended aerial ride-share service in a timely manner. With this news of increased funding, Karem should be able to proceed with developing and testing their air tax concept. 

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