Urban living is on the upswing. By 2050, the UN projects that over 70% of the world’s population will live in cities. For seasoned city dwellers, this influx of neighbors may conjure traffic concerns. After all, we all have experience with nightmarish traffic jams and painstaking commutes. While it's exciting to see our communities flourish, the truth is, the current infrastructure of our cities is unable to handle this kind of growth and we, as humans, are not equipped to handle the ramifications of continuously clogged roadways. This makes urban air mobility an essential part of our future as a society.
While there are certainly upsides to growing cities, they undoubtedly come with a cost. Increased traffic congestion exposes us to higher levels of pollution and, as a result, a climbing mortality rate. And, while nobody likes to sit in traffic, a study from the United States Politics and Policy actually revealed that long commute times lead to a lowered quality of life for urbanites.
There is also an economic element to consider: time spent stuck in traffic is money lost. A gridlocked trip from Manhattan to JFK could be the equivalent of meetings missed, deals not closed, work not delivered. Simply put, time wasted in traffic directly reduces the productivity of a city’s population. From a local government perspective, a booming population accelerates the need for more robust transportation infrastructure. Unfortunately, expanding our roads and highways may not be possible when working with limited two-dimensional space, not to mention additional downsides associated with traditional infrastructure projects like slow implementation and high costs.
While growing populations raise significant challenges, they also create the opportunity to rethink our transportation networks and our relationships with travel. The way we see it, if the ground is overcrowded, there’s no place to go but up. At Archer, we believe that creating a 3D transportation model through urban air mobility (UAM) is the only viable solution when it comes to innovating our current 2D infrastructure world.
By creating a set of highways in the sky using existing and/or retrofitted heliport infrastructure and landing pads, UAM can safely transport both people and cargo at low altitudes through cities and suburbs at a rate 10x faster than a car. Because UAM is set to solve such a massive problem, the industry is poised for growth as well, predicted by Morgan Stanley to be worth $1.5 trillion by the year 2040.
Beyond the time, money, and frustration saved by taking an elevated route, Archer’s specific all-electric approach has a few other incredible benefits: we provide an environmentally friendly solution that helps solve two major global challenges at the same time - growing urban gridlock and climate change.
While we are building our aircraft to be emissions free, our commitment runs much deeper. Sustainability touches everything from the materials and processes used in manufacturing to the facilities that will house our engineering and production. It’s even a factor when it comes to the companies we partner with.
That is why we are thrilled to be working with United as both an investor and our first customer. United has made it clear to the public their dedication to decarbonization as the first airline to commit to reducing its GHG emissions by 50% by 2050. Our goal for Archer is to be a catalyst for change in sustainable innovation across the entire travel industry and, with United on board, we know that can be accomplished.
It’s clear that a change must be made in order for our transportation capabilities to scale alongside cities. What’s also clear is that UAM is necessary, not only for a more sustainable future, but for one in which we can finally break free from traffic and create more accessible and efficient cities. Archer looks forward to taking to the skies and ushering in the next age of travel.