Joby Aviation: On Track to Revolutionize Air Travel

air travel

Joby Aviation, a pioneer in the electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) industry, is making significant strides towards revolutionizing air travel. With a series of milestones achieved, the company is well on its way to delivering its first electric aircraft to a customer by 2024 and commercializing an air taxi service by 2025. Partnering with Toyota and backed by substantial investments, Joby Aviation is poised to reshape the future of transportation.

Joby’s Marina, California pilot production plant, in partnership with Toyota, has successfully rolled out its first eVTOL prototype. This major achievement was made possible by a generous $180 million investment from investor Baillie Gifford. The production prototype, Joby’s third full-scale prototype, has received a special airworthiness certificate from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), marking a significant step towards commercial viability.

According to JoeBen Bevirt, founder and CEO of Joby, the first aircraft off the pilot manufacturing line signifies a tremendous milestone for the company. Joby has diligently built the necessary processes, procedures, and capabilities over the years to deliver an aircraft of this caliber. With rigorous manufacturing standards in place, Joby is well-prepared for the next stage of the certification process.

Joby has already accumulated over 30,000 miles of flight testing since 2019 using pre-production prototype aircraft. The latest iteration of the eVTOL prototype builds upon this experience and brings the company closer to achieving type certification with the FAA. Type certification signifies the FAA’s approval of Joby’s aircraft design, components, and compliance with airworthiness and noise standards.

According to Bevirt, Joby has completed three out of the five necessary stages of the type certification process. The final step, after obtaining type certification, will be production certification, allowing Joby to mass-produce eVTOLs under FAA-approved designs. This progression positions Joby as a leading contender in the eVTOL industry.

Joby has already secured its Part 135 air carrier certificate, enabling the company to initiate on-demand commercial air taxi operations. This certificate, obtained in May 2022, paves the way for Joby to offer its services to the public.

Additionally, Joby has entered into a contract with the U.S. Air Force through its Agility Prime program. The contract, worth up to $131 million, includes the deployment of Joby’s eVTOL aircraft at Edwards Air Force Base in 2024. To meet this deadline, Joby must work closely with the Air Force to obtain military airworthiness certification. The success of this contract will not only propel Joby forward but also support the advancement of eVTOL technology in the defense sector.

Toyota’s involvement in Joby Aviation goes beyond financial investment. As Joby’s largest external investor, Toyota plays a crucial role in the company’s success. Toyota will supply powertrains and actuation components to Joby, further bolstering the eVTOL’s performance and reliability.

Moreover, Toyota has committed significant engineering resources to Joby’s pilot manufacturing line. Engineers from Toyota work alongside Joby’s team in California, sharing their expertise and optimizing manufacturing processes. This partnership showcases Toyota’s commitment to leading in the future of mobility.

In a demonstration of their deepening relationship, Tetsuo “Ted” Ogawa, President and CEO of Toyota Motor North America, will join Joby’s board of directors on July 1. Ogawa’s extensive experience and leadership within Toyota will undoubtedly contribute to Joby’s manufacturing scalability and strategic decision-making.

While Joby has not disclosed the exact location for commercializing its air taxi operations, the company has been actively exploring opportunities in Japan. Joby has partnered with Toyota and Japanese airline ANA to investigate launching an air taxi service that seamlessly connects with ground-based transportation in Japan. Joby has been working closely with the Japan Civil Aviation Bureau, which has shown great enthusiasm and support for eVTOL technology.

As Joby continues to navigate the complexities of international expansion, its collaboration with Toyota and the Japanese aviation industry positions the company for success in the global market.

Joby Aviation’s relentless pursuit of transforming air travel has brought the company to the forefront of the eVTOL industry. With significant milestones achieved, including the successful rollout of its first production prototype and progress towards type certification, Joby is poised to deliver its first electric aircraft to a customer by 2024. Backed by Toyota’s expertise and substantial investments, Joby aims to commercialize its air taxi service by 2025. As the future of transportation takes shape, Joby Aviation is leading the charge towards a new era of sustainable and efficient air travel.

First reported by TechCrunch.

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