Archer Aviation, an electric flying taxi startup, recently launched its first eVTOL urban aerial vehicle Maker. Not only did the company release the first photos and more details at the launch, but it also announced that it would complete its first test flight in the fourth quarter of this year and launch mass production in 2022.
Maker is still a prototype for testing and certification. As an eVTOL aircraft, Archer Maker has an electric vertical take-off and landing function. Taking off vertically like a helicopter means no runway is required, and once lift-off, the aircraft can be converted into a fixed-wing flight mode, both quiet and energy-efficient.
The Maker weighs 1,508kg and features 12 rotors. Six of these large 5-leaf rotors are used to provide most of the propulsion support, and six small double-leaf rotors, appear to be used only during the hover and cruise transition phases.
The figure resembles a hybrid helicopter, with two wings each carrying six egg-shaped rotors. The electric Vertical Take-off and Landing (eVTOL) aircraft can cover a distance of 100 km with a top speed of 241 km per hour.
Although slightly inferior to a single large rotary-wing model at top speed, Archer Maker is 100 times quieter than conventional helicopters with an all-electric engine and several small propeller units and makes only 45 decibels of noise when flying at 2,000 feet.
The Maker can carry two passengers and weighs about 3,300 pounds. In terms of power, the aircraft comes with six separate battery packs with a total capacity of 75 kWh. Maker’s battery capacity has been cut by about half, compared with the 187kWh announced at CES earlier this year.
But Archer says its distributed power propulsion system adds security to the eVTOL through multiple backups, allowing Maker to land safely even after a complete battery failure or two rotor failures. The company estimates that, ideally, each Maker prototype would be able to fly up to 40 times a day.