Urban air mobility (UAM) startup Archer Aviation announced this week that its Maker electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft has successfully completed its first hover flight. According to the company, the flight also included successful checks of the aircraft’s flight control system and the end-to-end close of flight software. Archer says it plans to pursue an “extensive” flight test campaign through 2022.
“Everything we’ve accomplished this year, every milestone hit and partnership struck, was all with one goal in mind: developing both an aircraft and a UAM ecosystem that could scale and change the face of intra-city travel,” said Adam Goldstein, Archer co-founder and co-CEO. “With our first hover flight now completed, we’re one major step closer to that goal and have proven that Archer can work at a fast pace without sacrificing safety or quality.”
Archer’s Maker eVTOL is an autonomous, two-seat demonstrator that is expected to be capable of traveling distances of up to 60 miles at a top speed of 150 MPH. Archer is aiming to unveil a piloted, four-seat “production-intent” model in 2023 and launch an aerial ridesharing service in late 2024. As previously reported by AVweb, United Airlines has plans to acquire 200 Archer eVTOLs once the aircraft meets the airline’s requirements.
> Archer’s Maker eVTOL is an autonomous
Can somebody explain how autonomous commercial passenger-carrying aircraft fit into the FARs?
Ah, instant bashing without thought. Wording such as Flight Test, Demonstrator should be a clue. There were no FAR’s in place when Wilbur strapped in, nor were there any when drones came onto the scene.
But this part: “… and launch an aerial ridesharing service in late 2024 …” indicates that they have no experience dealing with the FAA regarding certification. I have about two decades, and if they get even a piloted version certified in time to carry paying passengers, I’ll eat my David Clarks.
I can see it taking well over a year to get a compliance check list approved, maybe longer if it will need some regulations that don’t yet exist.
Your ignorance and fanboism is showing.
The #1 issue with any passenger service today is regulatory.
I’ve thought about this for a couple years, and don’t see how the FAA will allow any kind of autonomous eVTOL.
The first eVTOL passenger fataility will be the end of eVTOL.
Engineering and physics are the easy parts. Given the FAA 4 year timeline to fix BFRs in experimentals, autonomy may be a while…but perhaps a flood of Silicon Valley $$ into lobbying may accelerate their FAA processes. Lawyers and insurance companies will probably set the real limits on autonomy, especially after high net worth individuals are lost in/around a few crashes and there is no zero net worth pilot to insulate manufacturers from blame for their algorithms. Can’t imagine how a bunch of drunk rich kids rushing towards an arriving autonomous eVTOL could be a problem…or how weather “decisions” (by whom?) lead to skittering arrivals at “lily pads” that scare the various bodily fluids out of pax with no pilot (aka minion) around to clean up after them might affect fleet availability and returning customer base.
…and the range/endurance figures will account for cooling a high solar gain pax compartment? these passengers do not sweat, much less perspire.
That was my thought exactly. If it is going to take the FAA four years to sort out a relatively simple snafu in the regs for flight training in warbirds and experimentals, how long will it take them to work up the complicated regs for autonomous, battery powered vehicles? So far, they can’t even seem to decide how to handle ride sharing in certified planes. Perhaps by the time the FAA is ready, someone will have developed a battery capable of serious electric flight.
A question I always have is about the weight. Did the test include the weight of 2 passengers? I still wonder about the value of a round trip of 30 miles and then waiting for a long battery charge before another!
I’d like to see a betting market on the “attainability” of these wildly optimistic claims. Perhaps a Las/Vegas style “over/under” for meeting or not meeting stated goals.
“What’s the over/under on meeting their stated production in 2023?”
“What’s the over/under odds on initiating a ride-sharing service in 2024?
“What’s the over/under odds on the ride-share company being in business in 2030?”
Right now, the claims are huge–but talk is cheap. Most of these big-claim startups have no experience in dealing with the realities and costs of FAA certification. Having a betting system, where those with opinions can make a wager, would go a long way toward making claims REALISTIC–instead of dreams–and perhaps give those outside the industry a look at what the REAL odds are on certification.
I have a 50 year collection of aviation magazines, and going through almost any issue shows “visions of the future” that never happened–and these magazines were published by people FAMILIAR with the industry!
Remember “Eclipse” and “DayJet” they would fill the skies and have passengers jumping over themselves with the cheap $100 flights to anywhere they wanted to go at anytime……well still waiting.
Getting huge inflows of foreign cash for development has NOTHING to do with these programs. Their CEO’s are just poor little aviators wanting to help.