Wisk Aero
Wisk Aero eVTOL generation 6.

After Settlement, Boeing Invests in Archer Aviation

Aug. 14, 2023
An IP dispute is resolved – and now Wisk Aero will supply Archer Aviation with autonomy technology for future air taxi products, with Boeing joining as an investor.

The Boeing Co. will gain a broader stake in the “advanced air mobility” market with a share in Archer Aviation, as a result of a litigation settlement between that company and Boeing’s wholly owned Wisk Aero. Wisk and Archer announced an agreement to resolve federal and state court litigation between them, with terms undisclosed: in 2021, Wisk charged that Archer had stolen trade secrets.

Now, Archer has agreed to make Wisk its exclusive provider of autonomy technology for future variants of Archer’s electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft.

A further detail of the settlement is that Boeing is making an investment in Archer that will support integration of Wisk’s autonomous technology into future variants of Archer’s eVTOL.The value and other terms of Boeing's investment were not announced.

Both Archer Aviation and Wisk Aero are developers of eVTOL (electric vertical takeoff and landing, aircraft, also referred to as “air taxis”) conceived as short-distance or shuttle transport service, for passengers or cargo. Wisk – which operates independently from Boeing – is one of the developers working to commercialize self-flying aircraft. It reports it has completed more than 1,600 test flights of its eVTOL technology.

Archer Aviation is apparently closer to commercialization with its eVTOL offering. Its Midnight air taxi is designed to carry up to four passengers and a pilot – a payload over 1,000 lbs. – with a range of 100 miles, mainly short-distance trips of around 20 miles. It aims to be in production early in 2024 at a manufacturing plant in Columbus, Ga. Earlier this year, Archer announced Stellantis had joined it as a manufacturing partner.

Regarding the now-settled case, in 2021 Archer reportedly hired 10 engineers from Wisk, and later introduced an aircraft described as having “striking resemblance” to a design patented by Wisk. Then, Archer found itself accused by Wisk of stealing its intellectual property and confidential information.

Wisk presented forensic evidence that some of its former employees had collected proprietary data files before taking up employment with Archer.

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