U.S.-based- Beta Technologies Inc., which is planning to develop an electric plane that takes off like a helicopter, has secured USD386 million in funds from Amazon.com and Fidelity Management & Research Co.
According to Kyle Clark, Founder and CEO, Beta Technologies, the funding will help Beta take aircraft tests, construct a factory and support its first delivery to the U.S. Air Force by the year 2023. Clark added that Beta Technologies is signing up aerospace suppliers for advanced structures, avionics, and interiors that don’t differ much from the current aircraft. The firm is also focusing on motors, configuring batteries, and controls.
It is worth noting that Fidelity agreed to fund the complete round, however, the amount was increased to add more investors, including the Climate Pledge Fund by Amazon, which invests in startups that can help the e-commerce giant achieve net-zero carbon emission goal by 2040.
Reportedly, Beta is competing with many startups and large entities like Cessna developer Textron Inc. and Boeing Co., to manufacture new aircraft that resemble giant toy drones to ferry cargoes. Moreover, it is developing its aircraft with an onboard pilot and will later transition to pilotless aircraft once the regulations allow.
Headquartered in South Burlington, Beta has inked cargo customers, one of the first activities to achieve regulatory approval before the authorities permit the airplane to carry people.
Elaborating further on expanding client portfolio, United Parcel Services Inc. has agreed to purchase nearly 10 aircraft to fly packages between the sorting hubs, while the United Therapeutics Corp. has established plans to use aircraft developed by Beta to transport organs to patients.
In addition to this, the U.S. Air Force has also requested nearly 60 aircraft and extended airworthiness approval for the piloted electric airplanes developed by Beta, a first for its Agility Prime Program.