The dream of affordably taking to the skies to avoid surface traffic is becoming more real as ari taxis are coming and probably sooner than anyone expects.
Joby Aviation, who are part of the rush to deliver electric air taxis just raised $590 million in Series C funding led by Toyota Motor Corporation. Prior investors, including SPARX Group, Intel Capital, Capricorn Investment Group, JetBlue Technology Ventures, Toyota AI Ventures, and AME Cloud Ventures, also contributed to the round, and were joined by new investors Baillie Gifford and Global Oryx (ALJ family’s investment arm). Shigeki Tomoyama, the Executive Vice President of Toyota Motor Corporation, will join Joby Aviation’s board of directors. This new investment brings the Company’s total funding, including previous rounds, to $720 million.
Over the past 10 years, the Company’s team of engineers and physicists has developed a quiet, all-electric VTOL (vertical takeoff and landing) aircraft, which will be instrumental in the commercial launch of the emerging on-demand urban air taxi market. Toyota will share its expertise in manufacturing, quality, and cost controls to support the development and production of Joby Aviation’s aircraft. This support, along with the capital investment, will accelerate the certification and deployment of this new mode of local transportation.
“We are building a new system for transportation to transform your daily life, at greater safety and, in time, at a similar cost to driving,” said Joby Aviation founder and CEO JoeBen Bevirt. “This collaboration with Toyota represents an unprecedented commitment of money and resources for us and this new industry from one of the world’s leading automakers. Toyota is known globally for the quality and reliability of their products driven by meticulous attention to detail and manufacturing processes. I am excited to harness Toyota’s engineering and manufacturing prowess helping to drive us to achieve our dream of saving a billion people an hour a day.”
“Air transportation has been a long-term goal for Toyota, and while we continue our work in the automobile business, this agreement sets our sights to the sky,” said Toyota President and CEO Akio Toyoda. “As we take up the challenge of air transportation together with Joby, an innovator in the emerging eVTOL space, we tap the potential to revolutionize future transportation and life. Through this new and exciting endeavor, we hope to deliver freedom of movement and enjoyment to customers everywhere, on land, and now, in the sky.”
About the aircraft:
Joby Aviation’s aircraft is a piloted, five-seat vehicle capable of both vertical takeoff and landing and highly efficient, wingborne forward flight. It is capable of speeds of 200 miles per hour and can fly over 150 miles on a single charge. The aircraft is 100 times quieter than conventional aircraft during takeoff and landing, and near-silent when flying overhead. The passenger experience is optimized for comfortable ride-sharing operations and efficient entry and exit.
And so with Toyota’s money, technology and experience the goal of air taxis just got one step closer to launch.