Archer Aviation has revealed the Maker, its first urban air mobility vehicle prototype, for testing and certification. If all goes well then expect to see a larger production model. Don’t expect to see them here in SA anytime soon, however.
The Maker, much like a drone, is an eVTOL craft. eVTOL, or electric vertical take-off and landing, does not need long, spacious runways to take-off or land and can use much more space-efficient helipads. Once airborne, it channels its inner Optimus Prime and transforms into an aeroplane so it can be quieter and faster.
Powering the Maker is a total of 12 rotors. The six larger rotors sporting five blades are in charge of most of the heavy lifting, while the six smaller two-bladed rotors will be used when hovering and during the transition between taking off and cruising. Supplying those rotors with juice are six independent battery packs giving it a 75kWh capacity. If that sounds like a lot it’s because it is. Archer claims that this kind of system provides safety through redundancy, maintaining it can suffer a complete battery failure or up to two rotor failures before you would need to start worrying about falling out of the sky.
How far can this Archer shoot
While it doesn’t have onboard weapons of any kind, it can, according to Archer reach up to 40 flights a day. This is because the Maker only uses about 30% of its capacity per flight and can recharge in just 10 minutes. The fact that it only has a range of about 96km also helps with that but it probably means you won’t be flying across any seas.
If you thought this was already impressive, wait until you find out that the Maker will be ‘fully autonomous’. The only means of human control will be a 13-inch touch display for things like confirming destination, monitoring the flight, and maybe playing Cyberpunk 2077.
When will this Autobot roll out?
Archer says it expects to wrap up the first test flights in the last quarter of 2021, with the manufacturing of their bigger production
bot craft supposedly starting next year. If everything goes according to plan we could see the first commercial flights sometime in 2024. Until then we’ll probably have to roll ourselves out.