Archer is partnering with parking garage operator Reef to secure sites in U.S. cities for its planned eVTOL air taxi services. The two companies will look to repurpose the rooftops of garages that they say are underutilized, saying that the new facilities will require only “light retrofitting” to accommodate Archer’s four-passenger eVTOL aircraft, which are due to enter commercial service in 2024, starting in Los Angeles and Miami.
In an August 24 announcement, Archer said that it will use its Prime Radiant data science platform to determine the optimum landing sites for its on-demand services. “The goal is to identify sites that already have the space needed for takeoff, landing, and charging so minimal construction is required for operations,” the company said.
Reef says it operates a network of 4,800 parking garages covering 70 percent of North America’s urban population. It says that many of these are “dormant” due to shifting patterns of urban life.
The companies' announcement did not specify exactly what would be required to convert the parking garage roofs to accommodate eVTOL aircraft. According to independent consultants, significant work remains to be done to define and implement the ground infrastructure requirements that FAA and city officials are likely to have for the air taxi services.
A spokesman for Archer told FutureFlight that exact plans for repurposing the parking garages are still being developed, along with FAA specifications. He said that extensive structural works are not anticipated as the Archer aircraft is projected to weigh less than a standard car. The California-based start-up says it plans to operate from other types of urban infrastructure as well.
“We believe that working with Reef will allow us to accelerate our mission to transition congested urban areas to more sustainable forms of transportation,” said Archer co-founder and co-CEO Adam Goldstein. “The ability to build out our early vertiports with light retrofitting of existing structures would allow us to scale operations while maintaining our focus on affordability for customers.”
Co-founder Brett Adcock added that Archer’s alliance with Reef will “not just solve logistical issues but add tangible value to the communities in which we’ll operate.”