A startup called Archer Aviation is planning to debut a flying “air taxi” in Chicago and New York City starting in 2025, Axios reports.
Archer Aviation is teaming up with United Airlines to offer taxi service from busy metropolitan areas to nearby airports, according to Axios. One proposed service will run between O’Hare International Airport and a helicopter facility near Chicago’s South Loop, turning a 45-minute trip into a 10-minute one. Another route would run between downtown Manhattan and Newark’s Liberty International Airport.
Axios says Archer hopes to use eVTOL to pull off the job. EVTOL stands for “electric vertical takeoff and landing,” meaning it’s a battery-powered vehicle that can go straight up and down like a helicopter and doesn’t need a runway.
A recent video from CNET shows that the new vehicle design looks like a cross between a helicopter and a small plane, with several tiny propellers instead of one large blade. Each propeller can rotate both vertically to horizontally, so they can both lift the vehicle into the air and propel it forward. The vehicle carries up to four passengers and can travel up to 150 miles per hour.
If successful, this new taxi service will save busy travelers time, especially when going from a downtown office to the airport. The whole vehicle runs on an electric battery, so Axios says it’s quieter and creates less pollution than other small aircraft, making it ideal for a taxi service.
If the pilot program is popular, it could lead to future expansion, allowing more short-distance air travel in urban areas. The project is currently waiting on approval from the Federal Aviation Administration.
“The cool thing about these vehicles is that we’re not waiting on any new scientific breakthroughs,” Archer CEO Adam Goldstein said in an interview with CNET. “We’re not waiting on a new battery to come out, or some new special component that doesn’t exist today. So that actually makes the technology sprint much more achievable in the near term.”
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