Archer Aviation last night unveiled the Maker technology demonstrator it is using to develop its four-passenger eVTOL aircraft. The two-seat model is understood to be a smaller-scale version of the as-yet-unnamed production aircraft that Archer intends to bring into commercial service during 2024.
During a live-streamed event at Hawthorne Airport in Los Angeles, the California-based start-up debuted the Maker to a small in-person audience. Archer used extended-reality technology to present a simulation of how the aircraft will perform in commercial flight.
According to Archer, the Maker will have a range of 60-mile range and fly at speeds of up to 150-mph speed. It intends to start test flights with the demonstrator during the fourth quarter of 2021, as it prepares to begin manufacturing the production tiltrotor aircraft in 2022. The company has yet to confirm specifications for the production aircraft.
The Maker will have a 40-foot wingspan and weigh around 3,300 pounds. The design features 12 rotors, six of which tilt in front of the wing; the other six are used in the transition phase for hover to cruise. The propulsion system consists of six independent battery packs.
Archer expects the Maker to generate noise levels of around 45 dB when cruising at 2,000 feet. It claims this will be around 100 times quieter than current helicopters.
Looking ahead to its planned air taxi operations in cities including Los Angeles and Miami, Archer said that it will be able to provide commute times that will be 10 times faster than using a car. For instance, it says a trip from Manhattan to New York’s John F Kennedy International Airport will take seven minutes, while a flight from San Francisco to San Jose would take 17 minutes.
“We’re excited to continue reaching new milestones and introducing our largest cities to the next generation of safe, sustainable travel,” commented co-founder and co-CEO Adam Goldstein.
In February, United Airlines provisionally committed to purchasing up to 200 of the eVTOL aircraft in a deal potentially worth $1.5 billion. Archer is also in the process of merging with special purpose acquisition company Atlas Crest Investment Corporation in a transaction that it says values the company at $3.8 billion.