California-based Archer Aviation has debuted its inaugural eVTOL air taxi, the Maker. The Maker is set to begin production in 2022, where United Airlines will be one of their first commercial customers. Revealed at a global livestream from Los Angeles, the Maker serves as Archer’s demonstrator prototype aircraft and will serve as the final testbed before commercial production begins. 

The Maker is a two-seater autonomous fixed-wing eVTOL aircraft that can reach speeds of up to 150 mph, powered by 12 total rotors — 6 larger tilt rotors for lift on takeoff and thrust in forward flight, and 6 smaller rotors that are only used during VTOL flight, all attached to struts along the aircraft’s 40-foot wingspan. According to Archer, the Maker’s full-electric motors mean that the aircraft is 100 times quieter than a conventional helicopter. In addition, the aircraft weighs in at 3300 lbs, powered by 6 independant battery packs totaling 75 kWh. With a range of 60 cruising miles, the Maker is expected to serve as an air taxi that provides shuttle service between airports such as Manhattan and JFK in just 10-20 minutes. 

Photograph: Archer Aviation

“Maker’s unveil has been years in the making and marks a pivotal juncture for the eVTOL industry and future of transportation,” said Brett Adcock, co-founder and co-CEO of Archer. “Every day at Archer, we’re working to build the future, and we have never felt closer than we did introducing the world to Maker.”

According to Archer, the Maker’s distributed electric propulsion system provides additional degrees of safety through redundancy, able to suffer one complete battery failure or two rotor failures and still be able to land. The aircraft also only uses 30% of its battery capacity per trip and can rapidly recharge between trips in 10 minutes. At peak efficiency, Archer estimates that each Maker will be able to complete up to 40 flights per day. While full autonomy is still in the works, Archer plans to install both a full-scale autonomous control system connected to a 13-inch touchscreen display as well as the option for a manual control system in the final version of the aircraft, which will also have space for a pilot and 4 passengers. 

The first set of flight tests are expected to be completed sometime in the fourth quarter of this year, with manufacturing of the final aircraft to commence in 2022. United Airlines will be one of the first customers, with plans to buy up to  $1 billion worth of the upcoming eVTOLs as a way to diminish its carbon footprint.

“Archer has a big, bold company vision and our approach to this milestone moment had to match that,” said Louise Bristow, who leads Marketing and Communications for Archer and assembled the creative team. “We wanted to deliver an experience that went beyond the conventions of normal product launches and to bring together a unique group of partners to create something truly immersive for our audience.”

Photograph: Archer Aviation

Why it’s important: Archer adds on to their increasing momentum with the reveal of the Maker. With their recent merger with Atlas Crest Investment Corporation as well as United Airlines’ large-scale order, Archer Aviation is in an excellent financial standing in preparation for their expected commercial launch in 2024. 

Source // GlobalNewswire

Posted by Ian Shin

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