Los Angeles: A start up, Archer Aviation unveiled its first electric flying taxi named ‘Maker’ on June 10. Several companies have promoted the idea of flying taxis that could pick passengers up from rooftops in city centers and take them wherever they want to go.
Archer Aviation proposed that an electric vertical take-off and landing vehicles (eVTOL) could fly from towns to major airports.
The aircraft could pick people up from a city such as Cambridge and fly them to a major airport such as London Heathrow.
In this regard, it has already partnered with American Airlines and Avalon, an aircraft-leasing company.
Vertical Aerospace partnered with the startup, is conducting test flights of its aircraft this year and is exploring whether it could launch a flying taxi service as part of a partnership with Bristol-based Vertical Aerospace.
The airline says its VA-X4 craft will be able to carry four passengers and a pilot up to 100 miles, as well as being emissions-free and quieter than a helicopter. The company claims, it will be ‘near silent’ when cruising.
Vertical Aerospace president Michael Cervenka stated, "There's a lot of hype in this market and we have taken the approach that is pushing the bounds of what is available in terms of technology, but not going beyond".
However, as with any other aircraft, the VA-X4 will be subjected to strict safety and regulatory checks.
Moreover, air taxis carrying passengers from one skyscraper to another would require new air-traffic control technology, public acceptance of more aircraft in cities, improvements in automation and regulatory change that could be a decade away.
Archer expects to complete the first Maker test flights later this year, with manufacturing of the larger production craft expected to kick off sometime in 2022.
If all goes well, the first commercial flights is expected to launch from Los Angeles and Miami sometime in 2024.
Earlier on Thursday, Vertical Aerospace announced plans for the company to be floated on the New York stock exchange after a merger with Broadstone, in a deal valuing the company at $2.2bn.