Remember scoffing at the idea that Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) would become one of the world's largest and most successful electric vehicle manufacturers in the world? Or how about them parlaying their expertise in the EV space to build what is considered the most successful private space travel program worldwide? Most felt their ambition a stretch of reality.
In fact, not only did people reject the idea, but they also took aim at Tesla stock for dreaming well beyond technological capabilities. Well, it's fair to say that times have changed. And for Astro Aerospace (OTCQB: ASDN), its ride on the wave of technological transformation could make this company a breakout star in the electric vertical-take-off-and-landing (eVTOL) vehicle sector. The better news is that its mission to achieve that status is already started.
In fact, unlike the skepticism Tesla faced, few are balking at the idea of Astro Aerospace carving a sizable piece of market share for its eVTOL vehicle technology. And with its acquisition of Horizon Aircraft, coupled with an exceptionally strong management team, its mission to create a substantially larger company is starting sooner rather than later. Better still, its strategies are in line with growing demand from people willing to use its eVTOL technology.
As a matter of fact, Horizon already published research showing that the general public will be willing to fly short journeys in air taxis once they are proven safe. Moreover, close to two-thirds of 1000 adults surveyed said they will fly in eVTOL air taxis after they are approved by regulators in their own country. The better news from a demand perspective is that those results are from respondents in North America, Europe, Africa, and Asia-Pacific. Thus, for ASDN, the largest populations are in play.
And while some are cautious about using air taxis, keep in mind that according to research published by Carprousa, 44% of respondents have at least some fear of driving cars. Thus, the battle for widespread adoption may not face as many hurdles as one might expect. And while its to be expected that most air taxi riders want reassurances about the training of pilots and vehicle safety, they are challenges ASDN can address. They are doing that now.
Already, Horizon's eVOTL, the Cavorite X5, has an additional layer of safety built into it from its split-wing design. Check this out- if the pilot goes too slow or has to vertically take off and land, the wings open up and reveal six fans that turn the Cavorite into a helicopter that can stop in mid-air and then land and reverse. Undeniably, this is cool technology!
Even better for ASDN and its investors, this next-generation technology is getting built at Astro facilities today. In fact, Astro's own eVTOL, named Elroy, was one of the first drones made to seamlessly fly with humans on board.
That success has the industry buzzing.
Astro Aerospace Is Flying
The better news is that as part of its completed acquisition of Horizon Aircraft, the merged operation is now actively pursuing the development of three eVTOL vehicles. The planned portfolio will include Horizon's five-seat, hybrid-electric Cavorite X5 aircraft, and Astro's all-electric, two-seat Elroy and Alta models.
The best news is that ASDN has the executive team to advance these initiatives quickly. The development program will be run by an exceptionally talented and experienced leadership team, with Astro director Patricia Trompeter appointed as CEO and Horizon co-founder Brandon Robinson named president. Additional support comes from Astro founder Bruce Bent, who will serve as executive chairman and roughly 20 current employees. Incidentally, ASDN said it expects to double its employee count over the next 12 to 18 months. Thus, it's logical to assume they expect massive growth.
In fact, Robinson told FutureFlight he is confident his Ontario-based engineering team can get the first prototype built by the first quarter of 2022. That aircraft is expected to have a range of roughly 300 miles and could complete type certification by the end of 2024. Keep in mind, these ideas and prototypes are being built from experience.
The Horizon team has already completed more than 200 test flights with a sub-scale model of the Cavorite X5. That innovative design features 16 ducted fans installed in the wing and canard, covered by the wing surfaces during the cruise phase of flight. Those flights are attracting investor attention.
According to Trompeter, a former senior executive with GE Capital, talks with several investment groups are ongoing, and she anticipates that an initial funding round could raise up to around $25 million. That deal is predicated on the company's planned NASDAQ listing. Therefore, it can be two catalysts built into one.
Why the interest?
The interest from investors is growing because ASDN is positioned to deliver its eVTOL technology and products to market sooner rather than later.
In fact, the Elroy and Alta vehicles, being developed by Astro subsidiary, Infly, are already seeking the necessary test aircraft certificate to begin flight testing with a scale model of the Alta. And while progress with both aircraft has slowed as Astro awaits FAA guidance on rules covering owner-flown eVTOL aircraft used as personal air vehicles, it shows just how far ahead of the development curve ASDN is. Even the FAA is playing catch-up.
And unlike several other eVTOL aircraft developers, Astro plans to sell its vehicles directly to commercial operators. Thus, they expect to capitalize on the substantial potential for the Cavorite X5 to be used in applications, including long-range air transport services as well as the short-hop intra-urban business model planned by some other eVTOL aircraft developers.
Keep in mind, too, the market is not only directed at pedestrian traffic. FedEx (NYSE: FDX), UPS (NYSE: UPS), and thousands of smaller companies can utilize its unmanned technology for specific business purposes. Therefore, while the eVTOL market is substantial, applying the market potential from other sectors can bring exponential opportunity to the company.
Indeed, based on its active portfolio, ASDN is likely worth far more than its current $22 million market cap. And at $2.70 a share today, the trajectory is likely to the upside, especially with an uplist expected soon.
Even better, this under-the-radar company is just getting started. And for investors that didn't take the early opportunity in Tesla, ASDN may be providing a second chance for investors to catch a ground-floor position in a company that is well beyond the initial design and testing phase of eVTOL vehicles. Second chances in industry-pioneering companies don't come often.
And while there's a multitude of reasons to like Astro Aerospace and its stock at these levels, one stands out in particular. ASDN is ready to fly. Literally.
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