September 24, 2021
Flying ‘taxis’ over Miami just got one step closer to takeoff
 
 
By Rob Wile
 

The dream of flying taxis lifting Miamians above traffic gridlock got closer to reality this week after the Federal Aviation Administration gave an initial approval to allow Palo Alto, Calif.,-based Archer Aviation to deploy its five-passenger, half helicopter-half airplane vehicles in the skies.

The FAA’s so-called G-1 Issue Paper is one step in a series that must still occur for Archer to reach its goal of launching service in Miami and Los Angeles in 2024. 

Still, it shows the vehicles are more than a pipe dream.

The announcement comes shortly after the news that Archer had agreed to a deal with Miami-based REEF to tap REEF’s network of parking garages and their roofs as takeoff and landing sites for Archer vehicles. 

In fact, the agreement with Archer represents the second deal REEF has signed with a flying taxi company this year. Earlier, REEF announced a similar deal with Santa Cruz, Calif.,-based Joby, another flying taxi company that has announced intentions to fly in Miami. The agreements state that each company would gain exclusive access to individual sites.

According to industry tracking website eVTOL.com, Joby and a third competitor Lilium, have already announced receipt of a G-1 issue paper or its European equivalent. 

Archer System Simulation Lead Jon Petersen told the Miami Herald that the company is focused on finding local flight patterns, like to Miami International Airport from downtown, Miami Beach, or Fort Lauderdale, that would economize the service. Archer has previously said it hopes to make trips at $4 per mile possible. 

“We are quite confident that we are going to be hitting these milestones,” Petersen said.

MUSK TUNNEL PROPOSAL GETS CLOSER LOOK

Fort Lauderdale officials have begun hiring outside experts to examine a proposal from Elon Musk’s Boring Co. to build a tunnel under the city after an Aug. 30 deadline passed with Boring Co. as the sole qualified bidder.

The proposal would see Boring construct a tunnel under Las Olas Boulevard connecting the downtown area to the beach. Passengers would travel inside dedicated Teslas that would eventually be self-driving, similar to the existing Boring Co. loop in Las Vegas. 

Miami Mayor Francis Suarez has plans for a much more extensive network that would span as much as eight miles underneath downtown Miami.