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Why did Aurora Want to get Acquired by Boeing? The Air Taxi Market

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posted on Apr, 24 2018 @ 10:22 PM

Virginia-based Aurora Flight Sciences is now poised to transition an all-electric version of the XV-24A Lightning Strike to the commercial air taxi market.

The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has agreed to allow the newly-acquired Boeing subsidiary to transition government-funded technology - such as an electric-powered distributed propulsion system – for commercial applications, Aurora announced on 24 April.


Aurora plans to deliver a “minimum viable product” by 2020 for a large-scale demonstration, involving multiple vehicles and controlled centrally by a command centre. If the technology proves feasible, Aurora could deliver a viable, piloted air taxi by 2023, but autonomous functions would come later as they are approved by regulators, Langford says.

Although that ideal progression may not go exactly as planned, Aurora’s staff feels prepared financially for the long-haul with Boeing’s support.

“This is not a market that a Silicon Valley startup is going to be se able to see through in my humble opinion,” Langford says. “That is partly why we threw in with Boeing.”

Interesting. In a way, it makes sense for Aurora to want to tap Boeing for the air taxi manufacturing. Few companies have the experience to manufacture aircraft on a large scale. Boeing has some, but the numbers the article talks about are huge: 50,000 air taxis per year. I don't think any modern company has the experience building aircraft at that rate. Car manufacturers are the closest things I can think of. Good grief.

The FAA has a lot more to even consider before these aircraft take to the skies for consumer use. Boeing does have more experience with the FAA though.

The dig at the Silicon Valley startups made me snork though. Tesla is already doing around 100k Model 3s per year and plans to rise to 300k. Just because a company hasn't built something at scale, doesn't mean it can't.

It all remains to be seen.

But, geez, being able to hop the SF Bay without going near the bridges would be nice.

posted on Apr, 25 2018 @ 10:16 AM
a reply to: anzha

Because DARPA yanked the rug out from underneath the program.

posted on Apr, 25 2018 @ 01:21 PM
a reply to: Zaphod58

Just saw that. Couldn't find a service partner. Interesting.


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