LONDON, (Via Reuters) – Israeli startup AIR on Tuesday revealed its inaugural “easy-to-operate” electric, vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) vehicle that it intends to sell directly to customers in the United States beginning in 2024.
AIR has been operating with the U.S. Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) for two years and presumes to receive certification by the end of 2023 for the AIR ONE, a two-person, 970 kg (2,138 lb) eVTOL, which will boast a flight limit of 110 miles (177 km), Chief Executive Rani Plaut informed Reuters.
AIR boosted seed capital of under $10 million last year and has been working on unmanned tests of its aircraft. It is building prototype designs and anticipates selling its eVTOLs for around the same amount as an upscale car, Plaut announced, without giving more specific details.
An increasing number of financiers and aviation businesses have gathered into the hot but yet-to-be-cleared city air vehicle space, and the amount of eVTOL startups has increased.
Air taxi firm Joby Aviation (JOBY.N) has gone public via incorporation with a blank-check business, and Vertical Aerospace – which has pre-orders for up to 1,000 eVTOL air cars with launch consumers Avolon and American Airlines (AAL.O) – is going public via incorporation with Broadstone Acquisition Corp (BSN.N).
Plaut said the contrast with AIR is that it will be sold to customers who can utilize its “fly by intent” system to fly without being fully qualified pilots.
“Our focus is completely personal,” he said. “We’re not talking about business flights, we’re talking about humans using this as they use automobiles.”
The United States has many unrestricted airspaces that make it a good first market for the AIR ONE. Plaut said AIR anticipates demand could reach 15,000 flying vehicles a year.
AIR is accumulating additional capital to get through the FAA certification process but did not reveal how much.