Two rivals in the race to mass-produce a fully electric aircraft said Thursday they have agreed to cooperate settled a trade-secret lawsuit that a rival, Visc Aero, had filed against another, Archer Aviation.
Boeing, which owns Visc, invested an undisclosed amount in Archer. Archer said that in return, he would use Wisk’s self-flying technology exclusively in future aircraft.
Wisk and Archer are both developing small electric aircraft that can take off vertically like a helicopter, but take off like an airplane. Each is designed to carry four passengers short distances, but Archer will initially have a pilot while Wisk is working towards autonomous flight.
Boeing said in a statement that its investment in Archer “will support the potential integration of Wisk’s autonomous technology into future variants of Archer’s aircraft, pursuant to Wisk’s exclusive right to be the autonomy provider.”
Also, the companies said they would end a bitter legal dispute. In 2021, Wisk sued Archer in federal court, accusing a pair of Archer engineers of stealing proprietary information when they left Wisk. Archer subsequently sued Wisk, accusing him of engaging in a “slanderous campaign” against Archer.
Visc was formed as a joint venture between Boeing and Kitty Hawk, an aviation start-up backed by Google co-founder Larry Page. Kitty Hawk announced plans to shut down last year, and Boeing announced in May that it had fully acquired Wisk.
Neither company disclosed the size of Boeing’s investment, but Archer said it was part of the $215 million it recently raised from Stellantis, the automaker whose brands include Chrysler, Fiat, Jeep and Maserati; United Airlines; and other financial institutions. Including that amount, Archer has raised over $1.1 billion to date.
Archer, one of the pioneers in the development of all-electric aircraft, also known as air taxis, also said Thursday that it has received Federal Aviation Administration approval to begin flight testing of its production aircraft, the Midnight, in the coming weeks. Got approval from.
The company plans to begin commercial operations in 2025, pending FAA approval. Last month, Archer had announced a deal to give six of its aircraft to the Air Force.