Two electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) manufacturers that have been at each other’s throats for years have decided to make nice.
Archer Aviation and rival Wisk Aero, the eVTOL subsidiary of aviation giant Boeing, jointly announced an agreement to settle a bitter, years long trade secrets dispute on undisclosed terms. Archer will issue warrants to Wisk for up to 13.2 million shares as part of the settlement.
But the agreement is twofold. In a twist nobody saw coming, the longtime competitors will actually enter a collaboration to make Wisk the sole provider of autonomy technology for Archer. Not only that, but Boeing—which bought out Kitty Hawk’s remaining shares in Wisk to become its sole owner in June—will fund the integration of the tech on a future variant of Archer’s Midnight eVTOL.
“This collaboration puts Archer in a unique position—to be able to source autonomy technology from a leader in the industry,” the company said in a press release. “Over the long term, autonomy is seen as one of the keys to achieving scale across all AAM applications, from passenger to cargo and beyond.”
The settlement gets a monkey off Archer’s back, and Boeing’s investment could one day allow the company to shift to autonomous flight, which has been the goal since the beginning. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Separately, Archer announced a $215 million investment from Stellantis, United Airlines, and ARK Investment Management, raising Archer’s valuation to a whopping $1.1 billion. The funding includes Boeing’s money as well as a $70 million acceleration from Stellantis, part of the exclusive manufacturing partnership the automaker signed with Archer in January.
And there’s even more. In its second-quarter shareholder letter, Archer revealed the FAA has greenlit Midnight for initial test flights. The approval keeps the company on track for type design flight testing in 2024 and a…