Joby Aviation Inc., the Santa Cruz-based company aiming to develop electrically powered air taxis, received a significant boost when the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) granted approval for testing its production-line flying taxis. Previously, the company could only show a prototype made by hand.
Joby’s goal is to create affordable, vertical-lift aircraft for short hops, providing a new category of small electric-powered air taxis that can swiftly transport passengers across cities and ease traffic congestion. However, Bevirt emphasized that the company still needs FAA certification. Joby plans to manufacture “tens” of aircraft this year and begin commercial flights by 2025.
Joby disclosed more details about its aircraft, which can take off vertically like a helicopter and then fly similarly to a small plane. Contrary to concerns, it can handle a payload of 1,000 pounds, accommodating four passengers and a pilot. Tetsuo Ogawa, president of Toyota’s North America division, will join Joby’s board on July 1.
Delta Air Lines Inc. and Intel Corp. are among Joby’s major shareholders. The company announced that the early production units will be delivered to the US Air Force next year, fulfilling a $131 million contract.
With FAA testing approval and ongoing partnerships, Joby’s flying taxi project is inching closer to production, generating enthusiasm in the market and among investors.