Skip to main content

Flying taxi service coming to Chicago using eVTOL aircraft

In the latest sign of growing interest in the flying taxi sector, United Airlines and air mobility startup Archer Aviation have announced an upcoming service for hops between downtown Chicago and O’Hare International Airport.

United and Archer Announce Next UAM Route: Chicago

The service will offer a sustainable, low-noise, and cost-competitive alternative to ground transportation for folks traveling to and from the airport, United and Archer said in a release.

Starting in 2025, Archer’s electric vertical-takeoff-and-landing (eVTOL) Midnight aircraft will zip between downtown’s Vertiport Chicago and O’Hare in a mere 10 minutes — far quicker than the hour or so that it can take in rush-hour traffic, or the 75 minutes that it takes by train.

Once the initial route has been established, branch routes will be added that connect surrounding communities, opening up the flying taxi service to even more people.

Powered by six battery packs linked to electric engines, Archer’s Midnight aircraft seats a pilot and up to four passengers. Its 12 sets of propellers enable it to reach speeds of 150 mph and travel up to 100 miles in a single flight, though it’s optimized for trips of between 20 and 50 miles.

“Both Archer and United are committed to decarbonizing air travel and leveraging innovative technologies to deliver on the promise of the electrification of the aviation industry,” said United executive Michael Leskinen. “Once operational, we’re excited to offer our customers a more sustainable, convenient, and cost-effective mode of transportation during their commutes to the airport.”

Adam Goldstein, Archer’s founder and CEO, said his team was “thrilled” with the plan and “looking forward to working with state and city leaders to bring an innovative transportation solution to the city of Chicago and its surrounding communities.”

Chicago Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot is delighted with the plan, too, saying: “This exciting new technology will further decarbonize our means of transportation, taking us another step forward in our fight against climate change. I’m pleased that Chicago residents will be among the first in the nation to experience this innovative, convenient form of travel.”

California-based Archer announced last year that it will launch a similar service with United for hops between Newark Liberty International Airport and the Downtown Manhattan Heliport eight miles away.

United revealed a plan two years ago to purchase 200 eVOTL Archer-made aircraft for deployment across the U.S. by 2026. United’s order was part of a $1 billion investment in Archer to help with the development of the aircraft as the carrier seeks to embrace cleaner, more efficient modes of transportation.

Archer isn’t the only firm developing small eVTOL aircraft, with a slew of competitors — Toyota-backed Joby Aviation among them — also hoping to enter a sector that’s expected to grow rapidly in the coming years.

Editors' Recommendations

Trevor Mogg
Contributing Editor
Not so many moons ago, Trevor moved from one tea-loving island nation that drives on the left (Britain) to another (Japan)…
Intel’s upcoming iGPU might destroy both Nvidia and Apple M2
A render of Intel's H-series mobile processors.

Intel Meteor Lake might not see the light of day on desktops (not anytime soon, at least), but it seems that the mobile chips are going strong.

According to inside sources, laptops equipped with Meteor Lake chips may not even need a discrete graphics card -- the integrated GPU is going to be powerful enough to rival Nvidia's GTX 1650. That's not all, though. It appears that Intel might even be able to compete against Apple's M2 chip, but in a different way.

Read more
Nvidia may launch 3 new GPUs, and they’re bad news for AMD
An Nvidia GeForce RTX graphics card seen from the side.

In a surprising twist, Nvidia might be releasing not one, but three graphics cards. They all fall under the same RTX 4060 umbrella, although two of them are RTX 4060 Ti models.

This marks a strong entry into the midrange segment for Nvidia, with one of the cards addressing a significant concern -- low VRAM. Should AMD be worried about losing even more business to Team Green?

Read more
Air New Zealand reveals cost of its comfy sleep pods
Air New Zealand's Skynest sleep pods.

Air New Zealand has finally revealed the approximate cost of booking one of its economy-class sleeper pods on a long-haul flight: $400-$600 New Zealand dollars ($250-$380) -- plus the cost of your seat.

Passengers will only be allowed one pod session per flight, so you’ll have to remain crammed in coach for the rest of the time.

Read more