SMG Consulting’s Advanced Air Mobility Index – the rating tool which describes the likelihood of an eVTOL aircraft developer certifying its aircraft, entering service and producing thousands of units each year – has been updated with two new additions.

Joining the initial list of 14 are Dufour Aerospace, which is currently developing its aEro3 eVTOL for the medical supply transportation market, and Archer Aviation – the California-based company which recently went public as part of a SPAC merger deal with Atlas Crest Investment Corp.

Speaking to eVTOL Insights, Sergio Cecutta, Partner at SMG Consulting, said: “When the index was first published, we committed to add new entrants and incorporate in the ratings the latest information about the existing entrants on a regular schedule. The latest release of the index adds two companies, Archer Aviation and Dufour Aerospace as well as updating the ratings of several of the OEMs.

“We added Archer Aviation as it is a company with a deep talent bench, excellent funding – especially once the SPAC goes through and adds around $1 billion in cash to the company’s balance sheet, unique partners, and a possibility of being one of the top 5 AAM OEMs.

“We added Dufour Aerospace as it is a company that has attracted talent from the diverse Swiss aerospace talent pool, it brings a technical solution that is different than all the other entrants, targets a use case that most of the other OEMs see as secondary, EMS. We believe they could be the Pilatus of the AAM industry: a small, nimble, technically savvy company that serves specific use cases.”

The ARI is based on five elements: the funding received by the company, the team that leads the company, the technology readiness of their vehicle, the certification progress of their vehicle, and the production readiness towards full scale production.

The formula scores each entrant on a 0 to 10 scale, using one decimal point to distinguish entrants. A 0 represents a company just considering the market with little to no financing, while a 10 represents a company with a commercial product that is produced in thousands of units per year.

SMG Consulting added that no company at present would be able to achieve a 10 at the moment. But companies like Joby Aviation and Volocopter could increase their current rating, given their continued progress towards certification and launch of the first commercial passenger flights.

Cecutta added: “Additional companies are going to join in the future, but we plan to cap the index at around 20 companies overall. As a testimony of how fast this industry moves, we have updated as well the ratings of half of the initial OEMs in the index.

“The updates originated from additional information in the areas of funding, technical readiness, certification progress and production readiness, based on newly publicly available information as well as expert knowledge shared by some of the OEMs.”

Archer’s eVTOL aircraft will travel distances of 60 miles at speeds of 150mph. A full-scale version is expected to be revealed later this year, with aircraft production to begin in 2023 and the first commercial flights starting in 2024.

While Dufour Aerospace’s aEro3 project consists of a large, manned tilt-wing aircraft with five to seven seats. The company’s CTO Jasmine Kent and CEO Thomas Pfammatter spoke about the project last year as part of a Vertical Flight Society’s Writers’ Group session.

Cecutta gave more detail to eVTOL Insights about the background behind the AAM Reality Index in an in-depth interview last month.

For more information about the AAM Reality Index, click here.