The Californian aviation company Joby has raised $590 million in series C financing to launch their air taxi service. The funding will go into the development and commercialization of Joby’s five seated VTOL.
Toyota led the financial support round by investing an impressive $394 million, as well as providing technical know-how in regards o the production, quality and cost control of electric vehicle development. Additionally, Toyota’s executive VP Shigeki Tomoyama will join Joby Aviation’s board of directors. This is also not Toyota’s first effort to support the American company, as they contributed to the company’s last round of financing as well.
Joby has been working on “fast, affordable, and zero-emissions air mobility” for the past decade. Their approach is that vertical take-off and landing craft are the only way forward regarding urban air mobility. Their focus lay heavily on cancelling noise and pollution with the VTOLs. Now the company hopes to get an official certification for their electric aircraft, which Toyota’s leverage will help them with.
“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 Joe 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.”
Regarding the aircraft itself, the VTOL features space for four passengers and a pilot, with a top speed of around 200 miles per hour. However, it won’t last a full hour at that speed, as the range for a single charge is estimated to be just over 150 miles. This should be more than sufficient for urban transport, however. The vehicles are also optimized for ride-sharing operations, as well as making for efficient boarding and exiting of the aircraft. Safety features also include “high levels of redundancy” to ensure the safe transport of passengers.
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