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By Nikki Cabus

UrbanLink Air Mobility places order for 20 eVTOL aircraft

Read Time 3 Minutes

UrbanLink Air Mobility LLC, a South Florida-based start-up, will revolutionize transportation as the first provider of all electric zero emission advanced air mobility (AAM) solutions and is positioned to make history as the first airline in the U.S. to integrate electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft into its fleet.

UrbanLink is a South Florida-based advanced air mobility (AAM) company dedicated to revolutionizing urban transportation through innovative air mobility solutions. Led by aviation industry veteran Ed Wegel, UrbanLink is committed to creating smarter, more efficient transportation systems that enhance connectivity and sustainability in South Florida and beyond. UrbanLink is currently positioned to be the first provider of all electric zero emission AAM solutions and is poised to make history as the first airline in the U.S. to integrate electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft into its fleet.

UrbanLink will lead the entry into service and management of AAM in South Florida, and will expand to other markets, including Los Angeles, playing a vital role in the seamless integration of AAM into the existing transportation infrastructure. UrbanLink expects to start the certification process, subject to all FAA and DOT approvals, in Q4 2025 with entry into revenue service by Summer 2026.

UrbanLink’s launch comes at a critical time when cities worldwide are grappling with congestion and environmental challenges. By harnessing leading composite airframe and electric engine technology, UrbanLink will transform the way people move to and from as well as within urban cores, enhancing connectivity and sustainability. Additionally, as the industry begins to transition toward all-electric aircraft, which produce zero carbon emissions, AAM will play a crucial role in driving the aviation industry’s goal to achieve carbon neutrality by 2040.

“Advanced air mobility is quickly becoming a reality and UrbanLink will lead the charge in bringing this transformative technology to life in South Florida as well as additional U.S. and overseas markets,” said Ed Wegel, Founder and Chairman of UrbanLink. “Our team is passionate about leveraging AAM to create smarter, more efficient transportation solutions that positively impact communities. South Florida, with its unique geographical and demographic characteristics, presents an exciting opportunity for us to demonstrate the transformative potential of air mobility.”

UrbanLink is collaborating with stakeholders across the public and private sectors to develop integrated AAM systems tailored to the needs of South Florida. Through strategic partnerships and investment in aircraft and development, UrbanLink aims to establish itself as a leader in the AAM sector, driving innovation and helping to shape the future of regional air transportation.

UrbanLink Chairman Ed Wegel will delivered a keynote presentation at CoMotion Miami 2024 on May 6-7 at Miami Dade College, Wolfson Campus. The conference showcases the latest innovations and trends in urban mobility. During the conference, Wegel addressed the challenges and opportunities in making urban air mobility a reality and signed an order for 20 eVTOL aircraft with one of the leading eVTOL aircraft manufacturers.

Wegel, a 40-year executive in airline financing, operations, and aircraft certification, has brought several new aircraft types into service in the US market, including the BAe J41, the Embraer E-145, and the Airbus A321 freighter. He has raised more than $1 billion in equity and debt for aviation ventures, and has led FAA certifications for two U.S. Part 135 airlines and several U.S. Part 121 carriers, including achieving the 2014 certification of Eastern Air Lines’ 737-800 fleet within a record-breaking eight months. He also led the 2020 certification of Global Crossing Airlines during the COVID-19 pandemic. The airline now operates 17 A320 family aircraft.

To help lead the charge at UrbanLink, Wegel has recruited a world-class team of seasoned aviation professionals to make up its management team and board of directors. The appointments will be announced in the coming weeks along with critical strategic partners that will assist in accelerating UrbanLink’s certification and growth.

For more information about UrbanLink and its mission to advance air mobility solutions, visit www.flyurbanlink.com.

By Nikki Cabus

Archer Aviation and Atlantic Aviation Align to Pursue Development of Electric Aircraft Infrastructure in South Florida and Across the US

Read Time 3 Minutes

Archer Aviation Inc. (NYSE: ACHR) and Atlantic Aviation announced the recent signing of an MOU focused on establishing sites for electric aircraft operations in mulitiple metropolitan areas including South Florida.

Archer Aviation is designing and developing electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft for use in urban air mobility networks. Archer’s mission is to unlock the skies, freeing everyone to reimagine how they move and spend time. Although Archer’s team is based in Santa Clara, CA, they have close ties to the South Florida region.

Atlantic Aviation offers customers more than 100 Fixed Base Operations (FBO) locations across North America – and includes locations in Hawaii and the Caribbean. Atlantic Aviation’s facilities each provide a full suite of critical services to the business aviation sector covering a wide range of aircraft ground handling and corporate flight support, including fueling and line services, ground transportation, catering, hangar, deicing, and ramp space.

Archer and Atlantic Aviation plan to electrify several of Atlantic Aviation’s existing aviation assets to support future electric aircraft operations, including Archer’s Midnight air taxi, at Atlantic Aviation locations across four key launch markets: Los Angeles,  New York City,  Northern California and South Florida.

The companies plan to leverage the parties’ existing relationships with BETA Technologies to install BETA’s interoperable rapid recharging systems. BETA’s chargers utilize the Combined Charging System (CCS) that was recently endorsed by the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) and is being utilized by several top original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) across the industry.

Atlantic and Archer anticipate launch of service across these initial locations in 2025 and subsequent expansion of services to other locations across Atlantic Aviation’s significant portfolio as availability of Archer’s aircraft scales. Together, Archer and Atlantic Aviation will be leaders in defining the infrastructure experience for the electric aircraft industry, offering premium experiences for customers.

“We are excited to work with Atlantic to help electrify their vast portfolio of high-value aviation assets in America’s most congested cities including the New York, Los Angeles, Miami, and San Francisco markets,” said Nikhil Goel, Archer’s Chief Commercial Officer. “These initial eVTOL vertiport locations will provide a launching pad for future expansion across Atlantic’s portfolio and ensure that our Midnight aircraft has safe, centrally located landing facilities for our future passengers.”

John Redcay, Atlantic Aviation Chief Commercial and Sustainability Officer, said: “We are impressed with Archer’s technology and suite of world-class partners including United Airlines; we are excited to work together to electrify our aviation assets to enable quiet and sustainable urban air travel in cities across the U.S.”

Archer’s goal is to transform urban travel, replacing 60- to 90-minute commutes by car with estimated 10- to 20-minute electric air taxi flights that are safe, sustainable, low noise, and cost-competitive with ground transportation. Archer’s Midnight is a piloted, four-passenger aircraft designed to perform rapid back-to-back flights with minimal charge time in between flights.

By Nikki Cabus

Broward-based eVTOL startup Doroni Aerospace launches Series A and FAA releases blueprint for air taxis

Read Time 5 Minutes

Just last week Doroni Aerospace announced the exclusive launch of their Series A Reg D funding round available to accredited investors. 

Morgan Stanley research predicted that the eVTOL (electric vertical taken off and landing) market will reach over $1 trillion by 2040. Doroni is on a mission to capitalize on this opportunity today and aims to make this technology accessible to everyone.

With backing and support from Space Florida, Doroni has already raised over $3.6 million from over 2000 investors and taken just under 300 pre-order requests for vehicle purchases. Just this past February, the startup completed its first untethered test flight with the Doroni H1 eVTOL. Only a handful of companies worldwide have been able to achieve this milestone.

Some of Doroni’s recent accomplishments are pretty remarkable.

  • successfully completed 53 unique flight tests with the Doroni H1 P1
  • built full 3D cockpit simulator tested by thousands of flight enthusiast and experienced pilots
  • completed the H1 airframe with fully functional cockpit complete with software, avionics, and a computer system that’s ready for flight integration
  • recruited Dan Saccani, a former Tesla and Lucid Motors CFO as our fractional CFO
  • raised an impressive seed round of over $3.5M through equity crowdfunding on StartEngine.com
  • working with major OEMs like Honeywell, Garmin, and Amphenol to incorporate aviation systems and components
  • received an overwhelming response of 270+ preorder requests
  • expanded our R&D capabilities by moving to a state-of-the-art 13,000 square foot R&D facility in Coral Springs
  • received another technology patent on their latest technology in design and aerospace features from the USPTO
  • garnered support from esteemed organizations such as the City of Pompano Beach, The Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance, and Space Florida

Doroni’s mission is to bring new sustainability to commuter transportation by making flight accessible to the masses. The Doroni H1 is their go-to-market personal eVTOL (AKA “flying car”) that the company says will offer a safe, practical, and environmentally-friendly alternative to traditional automobiles. They are helping define the future of Urban Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) by engaging with the aviation industry, academia, the military, and the FAA as well as our prospective civilian and commercial customers.

On May 3rd, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) released an updated blueprint outlining the next steps for future future air taxi, or eVTOL aircraft, operations in the United States.

Under the blueprint developed by NASA and industry stakeholders, AAM operations will begin at a low rate with air taxis flying much as helicopters do today. They’ll use existing routes and infrastructure such as helipads and early vertiports.  As the number of operations increases, air taxis are expected to fly in corridors between major airports and vertiports in city centers. The complexity of the corridors could increase over time from single one-way paths to routes serving multiple flows of aircraft flying in both directions. Over time, these corridors could link an increasing number of routes between vertiports.

The FAA expects aircraft technology will evolve as well. Aircraft automation and real-time data sharing between aircraft will likely play increasing roles in these corridors. The operational blueprint is a key step — along with certifying the aircraft and pilots — in the FAA’s effort to safely usher in and support this next era of aviation. The blueprint aims to provide a common frame of reference to the FAA, NASA and industry to help guide their research and decision-making.

Doroni is targeting a Light Sport Aircraft (LSA) certification with the FAA that would make the company extremely viable when compared to the complicated and time-consuming certification processes of larger air taxi competitors. From its inception with the Doroni Y6 and X8 prototypes that came before it, the Doroni H1 was designed to maximize safety and will undergo exhaustive multi-level quality control. As Doroni likes to say, “Safety Is In Our DNA.”

What was once only seen in futuristic sci-fi movies in now becoming a reality. The world’s first eVTOL vertiport, Air-One, was opened in April 2022 in the United Kingdom. This is just one of the first of over 200 vertiport sites planned across the globe for Air-One. The vertiport was a collaboration between Urban-Air Port, a U.K.-based ground infrastructure developer, and Supernal, Hyundai Motor Group’s urban air mobility division.

According to Urban-Air Port, multiple international locations are already on the company’s order book for additional sites including efforts to bring air taxi services to Miami as soon as 2028.

The difference between Doroni and it’s competitors is its plans to offer their vehicles for personal purchase and use. The eVTOL market is divided into cargo, personal, and air taxi segments with many competitors popping up, but according to Doroni, these competitors are not focusing on personal purchase.

The personal segment is further subdivided into 1- and 2-seater categories. 1-seaters typically have an open frame with exposed propellers, have limited range, and are intended for recreational/leisure use. The Doroni H1 falls under the 2-seater + Payload category. Doroni sees a tremendous benefit and value of entering the personal segment under this category and believes that as a US-based company located in the eVTOL hub of Florida, they can become a major industry player.

Flying an aircraft may seem like a daunting task, but Doroni’s Founder and CEO, Doron Merdinger, explains that anyone with a driver’s license and 20 hours of flight training from the company can do it. He also claims that it’s cleaner, quieter and more sustainable.

Doron explains this in a recent ABC News Miami interview by asking, “Why do we need to destroy nature in general when we introduce a system that doesn’t require roads, does not pollute, doesn’t make noise at that level?”

He continued, “I can tell you 100% that the technology for what we are doing is here now. It’s not in the future – it’s here now.”

“We will experience nature. . . It will be safer, quieter and more efficient.”

The 1650 lb. 2-seater, Doroni H1, can fly a couple hundred feet off the ground with a flying distance of 60 miles, cruising speed at 100 miles per hour, and maximum speed of 140 miles per hour. The aircraft is expected to charge from approximately 20% to 80% in just 15 – 20 minutes which is extremely fast.

The Doroni H1 aircraft cockpit was a popular exhibit at Tech Hub’s 10th annual TECHpalooza 2022. The company brought out the full size cockpit for attendees to experience the future of transportation.

Using a virtual reality headset and simple joystick (not steering wheel), attendees could imagine gliding through the sky in the Doroni H1 eVTOL aircraft. For most, this was the first flying car prototype they had ever seen or even heard of.

Flying cars could be a reality within the next 2 years. The cost is currently around $250k, but once the cost of materials levels out, the technology such as batteries becomes more accessible, the company expects the prices to lower, or at least not increase, over time.

“This is real and this is happening – We have come a long way from where we were just a decade ago,” stated Billy Nolen,  FAA acting administrator.

Investors, visit the Doroni website now to learn more and secure your stake in the future of mobility: https://www.doroni.io/

 

By Nikki Cabus

Re-Discovering Innovation at TECHPalooza 2022!

Read Time 7 Minutes

Where do we start?

You may think that not having a main highlight at this year’s event would be a bad thing. In fact, it’s just the opposite. There were so many exciting things happening this year, we don’t know which was better. I guess it depends on who you ask.

From flying cars, augmented reality dodgeball, robot dogs, 3D printers, speaking sessions and taking over an entire museum, this year’s TECHpalooza was one for the books!

Over the past couple decades, Florida has consistently been ranked as one of the top states in the country for entrepreneurial activity, but has struggled to gain national attention as a true technology hub attracting businesses, talent, and funding. Technology and STEM related fields such as fintech, healthtech, proptech, oceantech and aerospace have been a focus for the state for years, but now just starting to the attention. Over the past few years, others areas of the state such as Miami, Tampa, Orlando and Jacksonville have really stepped up and helped put Florida on a national (and international) level.

TECHpalooza is here to showcase that technology.

Formerly known as ITpalooza, the event has been know as one of the main annual tech events in South Florida attracting approximately 1000 – 1500 each year. It started as a holiday party and local meetup with many IT and MSP folks in the community and grew over the years into something much more.

Being at the intersection of it’s 10th year anniversary and the first one back in person since the pandemic, TECHpalooza 2022 was due for a little shakeup!

The 2022 theme was Re-discovering Innovation so we wanted to create an environment where our tech professionals and executives could re-discover that child-like wonder of discovery STEM for the first time. Presenting sponsor, Dynatrace, was on board!

The Tech Hub team decided to move the event from the Broward County Convention Center to the Museum of Discovery & Science in downtown Ft. Lauderdale. MODS was gracious enough to allow Tech Hub to do a museum takeover and use the IMAX theatre, multiple classrooms, and the entire 2-story museum to feature the events’ keynote sessions, panel discussions, interactive activities, and 50 featured exhibitors. Imagine having your booth right next to a life size replica of an extinct megalodon or the live otter viewing area!

There were almost 20 sessions with discussions touching on topics from cybersecurity to mixed reality, but the opening keynote sure made a splash that morning.

Serial entrepreneur, inventor and Founder of Magic Leap, Rony Abovitz, was interviewed by David Coddington, Sr. VP of Business Development at The Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance.

Abovitz is not only the Founder of Magic Leap, but also the founder of Z-Kat Inc, Mako Surgical Corporation, and Sun and Thunder. He had never shared his founder journey publicly so it was a great honor for all in attendance.

The other two keynote sessions of the day were Sam Jaddi, CIO at ADT, who spoke about the importance of culture within a company in his talk titled ‘Change the Culture – Change the Game,’ and Chuck Miller, VP of Global Solutions Engineering at Dynatrace, educated the audience on the topic of ‘Modern Cloud Done Right.”

Additional sessions topics included Smart Cities, ClimateTech, Cybersecurity, Web3, Data and AI, The Future of Work, Mixed Reality Tech, Digital Transformation, Cloud Migration, Robotic Process Automation, and the Future of Flying Cars. Yup – flying cars.

Sessions were sponsored by Dynatrace (the event’s Presenting Sponsor), LAN Info Tech, Excess IT Hardware, Focus Global Talent Solutions, Brightline Trains and South Florida Business & Wealth.

In between educational speaking sessions and networking with exhibitors, VIP attendees got a chance to relax and get some coffee and food in the VIP Lounge, sponsored by the TechStrong Group with Coffee Bar sponsored by General Provision and VIP swag bags by OZ Digital Consulting.

There were food trucks and outdoor food court area sponsored by Culture Partners and a station with free snacks and water for all guests, sponsored by Origina.

Some of the featured interactive exhibitors featured this year were:

Doroni Aerospace, an eVTOL, short for electric vertical takeoff and landing vehicle (AKA ‘flying cars’) gave attendees to see their first flying car prototype ever. Over $6B was invested in eVTOLs in 2021 alone, and 5 of the largest air taxi companies went public for a combined market cap of $10.7B

They are already a leader in the 2-seater segment of this industry, with a vehicle designed for personal use with potential use cases in law enforcement, search & rescue, and emergency response. The company had a cockpit protype there to educate attendees about their soon-to-launch vehicles for pre-purchase.

HADO featured an exciting interactive arena where you could challenge another team to a dodgeball game by launching virtual blue fireballs, blocking those thrown at you with energy walls, and racking up points for your team. HADO combines traditional sports with competitive gameplay as the world’s first Augmented Reality (AR) physical Esport.

The company launched in Japan where the game is highly competitive and sold out arenas bring thousands of players and fans together to watch a team battle it out for cash prizes. HADO was recently launched right here in South Florida as the U.S.-based headquarters and the company is starting with schools as an immediate target audience.

It’s fast-paced, fun, and catching on quickly.

NextEra Energy brought out some of their drone technology as well as a little friend named Spot.

Spot may not be a cuddly puppy, but this robot dog built by Boston Dynamics can be deployed amidst storms to perform essentials functions that would normally be required to be performed manually. Spot can collect substation data earlier, allowing improved coverage without risk to humans. He even had his first Super Bowl ad cameo in 2020.

Spot became fast friends with Florida Robotics’ walking and talking robot Izzy. The new pair were certainly a sight to see.

The SilverLogic, a custom software development company, had a large interactive space showcasing multiple technologies they had built for some of their clients.

They are a global organization of full-time software engineers, designers and architects focused on developing and delivering products that help businesses grow. TSL works with clients in all sorts of industries tacking issues through app creation to process automation.

Three of the featured interactive technologies that TSL featured were Lumentender, a lighting controller app, Why The Face, a facial feature detection app, ZF, an augmented reality boat parking assistance app, and a generative AI demo using test-to-image AI models to generate images with Demo Stable Diffusion and GPT3.

Lime Design, one of the leading product design companies in the U.S. and a local tech and creative hub in Hollywood, was there to feature some of the cool technologies they use when designing, prototyping and developing their one-of-a-kind products for clients.

From 3D printers, CNC machine, plasma cutters, laser cutters, blasters, graphics machines and so many more, Lime Design has all the equipment and professionals needed to bring products to life.

Attendees got the opportunity to learn more about how products are created and built, see a couple 3D printers and CNC machines at work. Just in time for the World Cup, Founder Rodrigo Lima, even printed a replica World Cup trophy that was later raffled off that night.

EventFy, a Miami-based startup company and XR virtual event metaverse cross device platform showcased its futuristic technology to business executives.

The platform allows users to be transported to another world using AR, VR, and XR tech. You can get comfortable, enjoy and relax in this new immersive experience while attending a concert, trade show, or board meeting. The possibilities are endless.

EventFy has already nabbed clients such as the NFL and Televisa Univision!

The day ended with live music from our Tech Hub band, The Cyberdelics which includes Kelly Boyle, Tech Hub board member, Jeb Reynolds, Tech Hub Ambassador, and Lenny Chesal, former board member and current Tech Hub advocate. Food and drinks were sponsored by Semantix and Gravity IT Resources.

Thank you to all the wonderful people who came together to make this year a success. The City of Ft. Lauderdale, Mayor Dean Trantalis, City Manager Greg Chavarria, NBC South Florida, our volunteers, the Dan Marino Foundation, organizing committee and so many others. Although you may not be mentioned here, we know who you are and thank you!

We have big plans over the coming years so make sure you are a part of all the action. See you at TECHpalooza 2023!

UrbanLink Air Mobility places order for 20 eVTOL aircraft
Archer Aviation and Atlantic Aviation Align to Pursue Development of Electric Aircraft Infrastructure in South Florida and Across the US
Broward-based eVTOL startup Doroni Aerospace launches Series A and FAA releases blueprint for air taxis
Re-Discovering Innovation at TECHPalooza 2022!