Archer, NASA link-up on future AAM uses starts with enhanced battery capacities

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Air taxi developer Archer Aviation has announced a new partnership with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), which will initiate their mutual research into future advanced air mobility (AAM) applications with what they see as the lynchpin of the new tech’s performance – powerful but safe batteries.

Archer and NASA unveiled their agreement this morning, saying the project will look to improve various elements of the emerging AAM industry. Their first step in the wider objective of accelerating the development, manufacturing, and supply chain support of next generation aircraft will be enhancement of batteries that will effectively power the entire activity. Those findings will be shared with the entire sector as they advance.

“Maturing battery technology is anticipated to be a key enabling factor for the mass production and adoption of electric aviation,” the Archer release on the partnership said. “NASA’s goal is to test Archer’s battery cell and system design and share the results to push the entire AAM industry forward.”

The broader framework of Archer’s project with NASA will be to study ways of expanding AAM craft and operation beyond initially planned public air taxi transportation. That will examine, and when possible test mission-critical applications for both electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) and electric conventional takeoff and landing aircraft in both lower altitude flight and in space.

In further researching the safety, power capacities, and performance of its battery cells, Archer will benefit from use of the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility, which it describes as offering the most advanced high speed X-ray assets in the world. 

Those trials will submit Archer cylindrical cells to what the company terms “extreme abuse” in measuring their resistance and reaction. Lessons drawn from that will be put to use in improving electric storage tech in its own Midnight air taxi, and shared across the AAM sector. That work will be coordinated with the Santa Clara, CA-based startup’s project with NASA on improving currently planned next generation aircraft use cases, and identify and prepare new ones.

“We’re extremely proud to partner with NASA, who has pioneered the eVTOL industry over the last 3-plus decades, in support of our collective mission to ensure U.S. leadership in aerospace continues for decades to come,” said Archer CEO Adam Goldstein. “Many countries around the world are challenging the US in this new era of flight and our country is at risk of losing its global leadership position unless we work together, government and industry, to ensure we seize the moment and pioneer this new era of aviation technology, which stands to benefit all Americans.”

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