Air taxis traveling 150 mph and quietly ferrying passengers up to 60 miles over the sunny skies of Los Angeles could become a reality in three years.
Palo Alto-based Archer Aviation, which is developing electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft vehicles, announced Tuesday it would launch its first transportation network here by 2024 in collaboration with the city's Urban Movement Labs, which is also working with other companies to develop delivery robots and drones.
"Our partnership with the City of Los Angeles will be one of our major milestones in bringing quick, safe, affordable everyday flight to dense urban locations," said Adam Goldstein, co-founder and co-CEO of Archer, in the company's announcement.
The move comes after Archer announced a deal earlier this month that capitalizes on two of the hottest investments of the moment: blank check companies and electric vehicles.
The SPAC valued Archer at a rich $3.8 billion and included United Airlines among the investors.
The carrier also agreed to acquire a fleet of up to 200 aircraft, along with Mesa Airlines.
"Archer's commitment to launch their first eVTOL [electric vertical takeoff and landing] aircraft in one of United's hubs means our customers are another step closer to reducing their carbon footprint at every stage of their journey, before they even take their seat," said Michael Leskinen, vice president of corporate development and investor relations at United Airlines, in a prepared statement.
There are still a slew of regulatory and technology issues to work out but the industry is advancing quickly. The autonomous urban aircraft market could be worth $1.5 trillion by 2040, according to Morgan Stanley.
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