Electric aircraft maker Archer announced plans on Tuesday to launch a network of flying taxis throughout Miami by 2024, just weeks after signing a similar deal with the city of Los Angeles.
The company, based in the San Francisco Bay Area, and which has so far only flown its “urban electric jets” in test environments, has agreed to install several of its vertical airports throughout Miami to alleviate some of Southern Florida’s mobility issues, including a lack of underground transit options. (Vertical airports turn the layout of traditional airports 90 degrees, creating a smaller footprint that can fit within cities.)
Archer’s aircraft are designed to take off and land vertically, limiting the space necessary to operate an aerial taxi service in dense urban areas. The company claimed its planes can travel as far as 60 miles at 150 mph, evidently enticing Miami Mayor Francis Suarez.
“We know that infrastructure and transportation solutions in Southern Florida must change over the next decade to curb carbon emissions, decrease traffic, and create the multimodal transportation networks of the future,” Suarez said in a press release. “The City of Miami is dedicated to collaborating with Archer to build one of America’s first UAM networks and work towards overcoming the geographical challenges of our water-locked areas currently only accessible via congested roadways.”
Suarez is a big proponent of emerging technology in general; in February, he proposed a plan to Miami’s city commissioners to pay city staff and collect taxes in bitcoin. Commissioners rejected Suarez’s bitcoin proposal, instead opting to study the practicality of cryptocurrency’s use by government. Suarez also encouraged state lawmakers to look into the technology.