Historically, Joby Aviation had been quietly ramping up production and initial flight tests of its air taxi eVTOL prototype, until today. The company released this week a pair of videos showcasing their prototype during a flight test. Notably, the video highlights the prototype’s ability to take off, transition to horizontal flight, and return for landing. The videos follows the recent...
Historically, Joby Aviation had been quietly ramping up production and initial flight tests of its air taxi eVTOL prototype, until today. The company released this week a pair of videos showcasing their prototype during a flight test. Notably, the video highlights the prototype’s ability to take off, transition to horizontal flight, and return for landing.
The videos follows the recent headlines made by Joby detailing a SPAC merger with Reinvent Technology Partners, valuing Joby at just over $5.7B USD. The merger also paves the path to listing Joby on the New York Stock Exchange.
The prototype, nearly 10 years in the making, is capable of transporting 5 individuals at speeds up to 200 mph a distance of 150 miles using existing battery technology. The eVTOL aircraft uses six large tilting rotors to achieve vertical lift and horizontal winged cruise as demonstrated in the videos.
Perhaps most incredible is the aircraft’s noise footprint, where during liftoff in the video, Joby CEO and Founder JoeBen Bevirt continue on with a normal speaking volume. In the video, Bevirt states the merger with Reinvent Technology Partners will open a path for Joby to becoming a publicly traded company and will give it the resources needed to focus on certification efforts and commercial entry to service by 2024.
“With the Reinvent team at our side, we are one step closer to making this fantastic future real. We can’t wait to welcome you onboard,” stated Bevirt.
Why it matters: The aerial mobility space has seen a recent gold rush of investors, SPAC mergers, and investments by existing automotive and aerospace stakeholders. Joby Aviation is clearly leading among its competitors for its progress in its flight test campaign, fundraising, and certification efforts. The videos are the first of its kind from the company and demonstrate just how quiet the aerial mobility future will be. With plenty of capital and a robust talent base, expect Joby to be entering urban skies in the near term.
LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman and Zynga founder Mark Pincus are nearing a deal that would merge their blank check company with Joby Aviation, a move that would value Joby Aviation at $5.7 billion USD. Reinvent Technology Partners, Hoffman and Pincus’ special purpose acquisition company which recently raised $690 million USD in a public listing in 2020, is now finalizing financing...
LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman and Zynga founder Mark Pincus are nearing a deal that would merge their blank check company with Joby Aviation, a move that would value Joby Aviation at $5.7 billion USD. Reinvent Technology Partners, Hoffman and Pincus’ special purpose acquisition company which recently raised $690 million USD in a public listing in 2020, is now finalizing financing for this deal, and an official agreement could be released later this month. A successful merger would provide Joby Aviation with a listing on the New York Stock Exchange.
The success of this deal depends on when Reinvent Technology Partners can raise additional funding from institutional and private investors, according to a source for the Financial Times. The source continued that while close, the deal could still fall through if Hoffman and Pincus cannot obtain additional funding.
Founded in 2009, Joby Aviation is an aerial mobility company based in Santa Cruz, and has made waves recently with their acquisition of Uber Elevate in late 2020. Their prototype has currently undertaken more than 600 successful flights, received airworthiness certification from the U.S. military, and looks to obtain FAA certification by 2023 to begin commercial operations by 2024.
While Joby Aviation remained secretive for much of its existence, the company is now leading the market for eVTOL aircraft in the United States. Uber Elevate was the world’s largest focused effort to make eVTOL available commercially, bringing together stakeholders in local and state governments, and real estate and technology companies around the world. In addition, airworthiness certification from the U.S military gives Joby access to both direct and indirect funding, allow it to even more greatly prove safety during service for military operations, and help it bridge the gap into FAA certification for commercial operations. With these moves, Joby places itself at the front of the market for eVTOL within the U.S, and among the top companies in the world globally, a strong indicator that this deal has high potential to go through.
Why it’s important: Joby Aviation has raised $803 million USD to date, and can be considered one of the top candidates to go public in 2021, along with German aviation startup Lilium. While the first to do so was Archer with their astonishing $3.8 billion USD public listing as well as a $1 billion USD deal with United Airlines, a successful merger with Reinvent may launch Joby Aviation back to the top.
Source // Financial Times
Joby, Volocopter And Lilium Are Making A Risky, Expensive Bet On Vertical Integration To Invent Urban Air Mobility
This article, written by Dean Donovan, was originally published on Forbes. Shared on TransportUP with permission. It’s official: Joby Aviation is buying Uber Elevate. The electric air taxi developer will integrate the Uber Elevate team into its core operation; Uber and Joby will expand their partnership to provide a seamless multi-modal experience and share data on how to provide the...
This article, written by Dean Donovan, was originally published on Forbes. Shared on TransportUP with permission.
It’s official: Joby Aviation is buying Uber Elevate. The electric air taxi developer will integrate the Uber Elevate team into its core operation; Uber and Joby will expand their partnership to provide a seamless multi-modal experience and share data on how to provide the right services to customers; and Uber will invest $75 million into Joby, which is on top of its previously undisclosed $50 million investment in Joby’s Series C financing round in January 2020.
This move should support Joby’s strategy of both building a new type of electric aircraft almost entirely in-house as well as operating an airline. Elevate should also give Joby unparalleled competitive and ecosystem intelligence into some of its competitors given that Elevate had engaged Hyundai, Pipistrel, Jaunt Air Mobility, Bell, Signature Flight Support and Chargepoint, among others, as partners in the aerial ride-sharing network that Uber had planned on building. Most industry observers believe that Uber Elevate has built a high-quality group that provides access to arguably the most well-thought through network planning effort in the industry. This could provide benefits in market selection, scale-up and asset utilization of an airline.
Joby is taking a different approach than exists today in most mobility related industries. Over the last few decades, truck and airplane manufacturers have tended to decrease their level of vertical integration to improve capital efficiency and utilize specialized skills developed in the supply chain. Joby is not alone in this break with the recent past. Lilium has also announced plans to forward integrate into air taxi service. Volocopter, the German autonomous aviation company, has launched an air taxi service called Volocity and is aiming to begin operations in Singapore. At the same time, other players in the air mobility space like Jaunt Air Mobility and Bye Aerospace have opted for a leaner, less vertically integrated approach. Will one approach trump the other?
This isn’t going to be cheap
New aircraft programs cost a lot of money to move through certification. On the commercial side of the market, a new narrow-body aircraft could cost $10 billion to $15 billion and can take 10 years or more to bring to market. At the Revolution Aero conference earlier this month, Lee Human of Aerotec, a leading consultancy in this space, suggested that vertically integrated eVTOL (electric vertical takeoff and landing) programs would likely require $3 billion to move through certification alone.
Technological innovation creates certification timing and cost risk. eVTOL aircraft will have systems that look fundamentally different than most of today’s small aircraft including, eventually, the provision for autonomous operation. The Eclipse 500, a program that pushed the edge of the technological envelope to pioneer the very light jet (VLJ) category, has become emblematic of the risks of a technology forward approach. The program started in 1998 and only received certification in mid-2006 partially due to a requirement to re-engine the aircraft mid-stream. The first deliveries came in 2007, almost 9 years after the start of the program. The company ultimately ran out of capital due to cost overruns associated with the delays and the 2008 recession.
Setting up a scale commercial carrier will add another layer of capital needs on top of the certification costs of the aircraft. JetBlue raised $128 million to finance its start-up with two planes, and Volaris, now the largest low-cost carrier in Mexico, raised a similar amount to start with four aircraft. However, new commercial operators have the advantage of a well-developed leasing market that allows them to finance new aircraft at attractive prices. They can also slot right into the existing commercial aviation airport infrastructure with limited initial capital investment.
Starting an eVTOL-based air taxi service at a similar scale could cost much more. Given the relatively small capacity of these new eVTOL aircraft (typically four seats or less), to have the same seat capacity as JetBlue or Volaris on start-up one of these new operations might need 70 to 140 aircraft. At $1 million per aircraft that would be $70 million to $140 million in acquisition costs. Given the unknown lifecycle of these new aircraft, financing that via an affordable leasing program seems unlikely. Aircraft acquisition only represents a part of the total expense, which will include start-up expenses, inventory, route development and other overhead costs. In addition, these air taxi services will need to find new investment for charging infrastructure, terminal infrastructure, maintenance facilities etc. Growing the model would require even more capital for aircraft and for developing new routes, which can take 9-12 months to ramp to profitability in commercial aviation.
Put this all together and it may take $4 billion or more to fully develop a vertically integrated business in the UAM space. That business case will come with potentially high variability in terms of timing and cost that investors will need to plan around. Of course, the rewards of pioneering what Morgan Stanley predicts could become a $1.5 trillion market could make those risks more than worthwhile.
Historical Precedents: “We are the Uber of Aviation…”
Elevate ensured that the UAM space lives in a giant shadow cast by the analogy of Uber’s auto ride-sharing model. Uber took a cottage industry, the taxi business, professionalized and modernized it. Ride-sharing models utilized a contract workforce that knows how to drive and brings its own assets. It took the suboptimal taxi user experience and improved it dramatically, while simultaneously reducing the cost of service significantly through smart network management. Not surprisingly, these factors led to the rapid growth of demand and an asset-light business model. It was expensive to build out, but the operating leverage is less than a model that has to buy or finance the assets it took to operate.
Uber tried to build a similar on-demand model for the world of aviation, where it quickly became clear that regulation, labor relations and asset ownership conditions will create a different, less favorable business model. Some companies have attempted ride-sharing style models in aviation and have run afoul of the FAA. Aviation requires a highly skilled workforce that tends to unionize and scales slowly. The low passenger to pilot ratio will create a pilot shortage if the UAM markets scale in a significant way. These potential bottlenecks have led most competitors to set autonomous operation goals to enable scalability and manage costs. Carriers must buy their own assets or lease them, if financing is available, and take responsibility for their operations. As a result, vertically integrated UAM carriers will have asset intensive operations.
While it may seem a departure today, aviation and aerospace were vertically integrated in the era where airmail contracts guaranteed significant volume at set pricing. Boeing purchased aircraft engine maker Pratt & Whitney in 1929 and had started United Airlines before subsequently growing it via merger. The guaranteed volumes and pricing from airmail contracts limited Boeing’s exposure to the high levels of operating leverage this strategy created. In fact, those guarantees were so lucrative they led to scandal and eventually the Airmail Act of 1934. That law prohibited aircraft manufacturers from owning airlines and forced Boeing to divest United Airlines and to the spin-out of what eventually became United Technologies (including Pratt and Whitney). Although regional aviation receives some Federal money via the Essential Air Service program, these tend to serve poorer rural areas, not the premium services wealthy urban areas the UAM companies plan to target initially. Unlike Boeing in the 1930s, today’s vertical integrators will need to create their own stable, attractively priced demand to cover their operating leverage.
In contrast, Delta started as a company to solve a specific use case — the boll weevil infestation of the early 1920s. The company built aircraft for crop dusting and then built a crop-dusting aviation service to solve the problem. Designing a solution for a completely new use case feels analogous to the challenge that Lilium, Volocopter and Joby face today. Trying to solve the use case end-to-end via a tightly coordinated team could simplify the challenge. In addition, it is not clear that Lilium could find an air taxi airline customer for its UAM aircraft even if it wanted to do so. The carrier models that could buy and operate these aircraft simply don’t exist today, nor would most airlines feel comfortable operating this type of equipment on their own. To quote David Merrill, CEO of Elroy Air, who has considered building his own freight carrier in addition to the development of the company’s Chaparral autonomous cargo aircraft, “our commercial logistics customers understand the enormous value of our autonomous aircraft in expanding express middle-mile capacity, but many don’t want the added complexity of operating it in the early years.” (My firm DiamondStream Partners is an investor in Elroy Air.)
The Benefits And Risks Of Making An All-In Bet
Ultimately, aviation models usually depend on two things for success: directness of routing to save time, and cost to produce the service (of which the biggest driver is asset utilization). The Elevate team combined with the Uber Partnership, can help Joby significantly in both respects. Via its modeling efforts around UAM network optimization Elevate’s insights can help reduce costs by improving asset utilization of the carrier model. Its practical experience with Uber Copter into how to integrate ride-sharing networks into UAM services to create seamless multi-modal experiences should cut time off customer trips. Based on what we know about stimulation of aviation demand, those two value-adds should help grow the market significantly.
Set against those benefits, stand a few substantial risks. Unlike Boeing’s vertical integration strategy of the 1920s and 1930s, new UAM carriers will find it hard to predict volume early on. Cars represent a formidable competitor. They cost about 37 cents a passenger mile at average occupancy — probably a tenth or less of what UAM services will initially cost. Commuters are highly sensitive to transportation costs and a 22-mile commute each way might cost $130/week via car including parking. At $2/mile, which is the cost for an Uber ride-share today, the same commute would cost about $440/week. At $4/mile, a more realistic initial price for UAM services, it would cost closer to $880/week, although it could be lower in the case of someone who works remotely most days. In an environment where increasing numbers of people work from home and congestion eases, the time advantage of a multi-modal trip based on flights may also decline.
In addition, competition from new forms of fixed-wing aircraft could limit UAM volume, particularly in the early years before urban vertiport infrastructure build outs. Fixed-wing airplanes retrofitted with hybrid-electric propulsion systems should become available about the same time as eVTOL aircraft. These fixed-wing planes could transport passengers at lower cost than the initial eVTOL vehicles due to the greater efficiency of fixed-wing flight, the ability to use existing fueling infrastructure, and their larger number of seats. These types of operations could also scale more easily due to the higher passenger to pilot ratio. In commercial aviation, operators that fly smaller, less efficient aircraft often find themselves in the role of developing routes for operators with lower cost, higher capacity planes.
A third concern involves unionization. Given the scale of operations that UAM businesses plan to develop, this industry will most likely have unions that look more like the unions in the regional aviation or the commercial aviation industry than the less unionized charter industry. Pilots unions tend to negotiate contracts that increase the operating leverage of today’s commercial airlines, although some low-cost carriers have variable pay union contracts. As the demand for pilots from electric aviation growth increases, pilot shortages could give unions increased leverage over these businesses. More importantly for the vertical integrators, the unions will probably express reservations about the pace and safety of the transition to autonomous flight technology that the UAM companies will depend on to push costs down and stimulate demand.
Finally, this strategy could create some channel conflict between the vertical integration plays and pure play carriers. Uber Elevate comes complete with a valuable network of partners. Many of these, like the relationship with Signature Flight Support, should translate seamlessly into Joby’s vertically integrated model. However, why should the airframe partners want to support the network of one of their largest and best financed competitors? Even with a carrier strategy, none of the airframe companies with vertical integration plans will have the capital to roll-out these networks globally right away. It will just cost too much. If it is demand and not vehicles in short supply, non-affiliated airlines may choose to use vehicles from manufacturers that don’t compete in their core business.
Partnership strategies can help mitigate some of the risks from operating leverage and labor relations that vertical integration will create. Today, the major commercial carriers purchase capacity from the regional carriers instead of owning and operating those fleets. WheelsUp had a similar kind of operating arrangement with Gama in private charter. While these arrangements certainly have their advantages, the operating leverage will live somewhere in the vertically integrated system and the partners will probably not want to accept the operating leverage without some type of guaranteed volume contract.
Playing To Win
In the end, UAM represents an entirely new transportation model that requires new technology, infrastructure, systems and regulatory frameworks to deliver a cost-effective transport solution with direct connections and a good customer experience. Vertical integration strategies give Joby, Lilium, and Volocopter more control over the levers required to launch in the industry, which could give them, and by extension the entire industry, a better chance of large-scale customer adoptions. However, this strategy also comes with far greater capital requirements, the daunting task of becoming the best at multiple steps of the value chain, and the prospect of channel conflict that slows scaling in their non-priority markets.
The Lilium, Joby, and Volocopter carrier strategies suggest they believe proprietary volume will ramp up quickly. These companies face a chicken and egg problem: To stimulate demand they need the scale, but to pay for the capital required to grow demand also requires scale. When demand is uncertain, playing to win by increasing operating leverage takes vision, courage and deep pockets.
After recently coming out of stealth mode, Santa-Cruz based Joby Aviation has purchased Uber Elevate (Uber’s air taxi hailing initiative), and received airworthiness certification from the U.S military, all in just one week of announcements. For years, Joby Aviation existed on the eVTOL market, but little news was released on the eVTOL aircraft and its creator company. Then in January...
After recently coming out of stealth mode, Santa-Cruz based Joby Aviation has purchased Uber Elevate (Uber’s air taxi hailing initiative), and received airworthiness certification from the U.S military, all in just one week of announcements.
For years, Joby Aviation existed on the eVTOL market, but little news was released on the eVTOL aircraft and its creator company. Then in January of this year, Joby announced $590 million in funding, partly from Toyota Corp. Now, the company has raised almost $1 Billion, and has made industry history by becoming the first company to receive air worthiness certification from the U.S military. Although the air worthiness certificate from the military is not certification to carry civilians or cargo commercially, it gives a significant stamp of safety approval on the aircraft, and may fast track its journey to certification by the FAA. With this certificate, the Joby Aviation eVTOL can now provide transportation of both personal and cargo for the U.S armed forces. This will give Joby the opportunity to further prove the safety and functionality of its electric aircraft, and make any necessary improvements before receiving FAA certification. The certification was mainly pushed by Agility Prime, a branch of the U.S air force that has been collaborating with partners in the eVTOL industry to help enable this new flight technology for the United States both for commercial and military applications.
In a landslide move, Joby Aviation has also acquired Uber Elevate, which is Uber’s initiative to make a network of on-demand air taxi transportation in major cities throughout the globe. Under the terms of the agreement, Uber as a company will remain a part of the partnership and the final overall product. What has been transferred to Joby is the groundwork Uber has laid to create air taxi networks in cities like Melbourne in Australia, and Dallas and Los Angeles in the United States. The end product will integrate both Uber’s ground transportation app and Joby’s air transportation app to provide a seamless travel experience for passengers. To grow this partnership, Uber has invested an additional $75 million in Joby Aviation, as well as a previously undisclosed $50 million made in January.
Why it’s important: While Joby Aviation remained secretive for much of its existence, the company is now leading the market for eVTOL aircraft in the United States. Uber Elevate was the world’s largest focused effort to make eVTOL available commercially, bringing together stakeholders in local and state governments, and real estate and technology companies around the world. With these resources now available to Joby, its path to market will be significantly expedited. Additionally, airworthiness certification from the U.S military will give Joby access to both direct and indirect funding, allow it to even more greatly prove safety during service for military operations, and help it bridge the gap into FAA certification for commercial operations. With these moves, Joby places itself at the front of the market for eVTOL within the U.S, and among the top companies in the world globally.
BETA Technologies and Joby Aviation are planning to hold a ceremony to commemorate the groundbreaking of an “advanced urban air mobility technology simulator” facility at Ohio’s Springfield-Beckley Municipal Airport. Designed by the two pioneering eVTOL startups themselves, the facility will accelerate the Air Force’s deepening exploration of the vehicles, a project called “Agility Prime.” Custom graphic from the launch event of...
BETA Technologies and Joby Aviation are planning to hold a ceremony to commemorate the groundbreaking of an “advanced urban air mobility technology simulator” facility at Ohio’s Springfield-Beckley Municipal Airport. Designed by the two pioneering eVTOL startups themselves, the facility will accelerate the Air Force’s deepening exploration of the vehicles, a project called “Agility Prime.”
In June of this year, Beta Technologies and Joby Aviation became the first developers of urban air mobility vehicles to progress to the third stage of the U.S. Air Force’s Agility Prime program. The Agility Prime program is the flagship eVTOL initiative of the United States Air Force, and is best described as an exchange of government resources with private companies for knowledge transfer, aerial demonstration flights, and potential acquisitions of various aerial mobility companies that elect to participate.
Why it’s important: Over the years, Springfield has become increasingly important to Air Force research. Its airspace has also been approved for testing beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) capabilities for unmanned aircraft or drones above the airport. As highlighted by AFRL Commander Pringle, the establishment of an air taxi simulator facility “paves the way for AFRL and the Ohio community to advance the science and better understand an innovative capability with both military and commercial benefits.”
Source // Dayton Daily News
Multiple sources are reporting the California-based eVTOL startup, Joby Aviation, is negotiating a potential buyout for Uber’s air taxi unit, Uber Elevate. This breaking news would significantly alter the landscape of aerial mobility as Uber, one of the early influencers in the space looks to sell off its stake. Uber has been well known for its white papers, market surveys,...
Multiple sources are reporting the California-based eVTOL startup, Joby Aviation, is negotiating a potential buyout for Uber’s air taxi unit, Uber Elevate. This breaking news would significantly alter the landscape of aerial mobility as Uber, one of the early influencers in the space looks to sell off its stake.
Uber has been well known for its white papers, market surveys, and partnerships with academic institutions and eVTOL manufacturers to begin planning its entry in the aerial mobility industry across a wide variety of fields such as: infrastructure, certification, air traffic control, and product development. The company also hosts the annual Elevate Summit which has forged lasting partnerships and buzz around the industry.
The company is likely selling off Uber Elevate in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Uber reported nearly a $3B USD loss in Q2 of 2020 and Uber CEO, Dara Khosrowshahiwill, announced the company will be positioning itself to focus on profitability. Uber reported to Axios earlier this year of interest in offloading its Elevate unit, and recently Joby Aviation has been reported as the frontrunner for a potential deal.
Spokespersons from both Uber and Joby have not provided public comments on the potential deal.
Why it matters: Joby’s potential acquisition of Uber Elevate would mark a significant turning point in the aerial mobility space. Throughout most of aerial mobility’s growth, Uber has been a vocal proponent of eVTOL technology. The company has advocated for critical industry partnerships, development of infrastructure, and the regulatory buy-in necessary in order to support the new industry. Joby Aviation has been quiet in recent media, but it is well-known that the company is quickly readying for commercial production. Additionally, Joby Aviation has had great success in attracting top-tier investors as well as a successful Series C round of funding. Expect to see more news as details of this acquisition become public.
Source // Axios
Beta Technologies and Joby Aviation have just become first developers of urban air mobility vehicles to progress to the third stage of the U.S. Air Force’s Agility Prime program. The Agility Prime program is the flagship eVTOL program of the United States Air Force, as an increasing number of military organizations across the world become more interested in applications of...
Beta Technologies and Joby Aviation have just become first developers of urban air mobility vehicles to progress to the third stage of the U.S. Air Force’s Agility Prime program.
The Agility Prime program is the flagship eVTOL program of the United States Air Force, as an increasing number of military organizations across the world become more interested in applications of aerial mobility technology as supplemental (and eventually in replacement of) current mobility offerings for both manned and unmanned missions. The initiative is best described as an exchange of government resources with private companies for knowledge transfer, aerial demonstration flights, and potential aquisitions of various aerial mobility companies that elect to participate.
Beta Technologies and Joby Aviation are engaged in area of Interest One (AOI-1) of the solicitation campaign, which is seeking vehicles capable of transporting three to eight people at least 100 miles (160 kilometers) at speeds of at least 100 mph, with first flight taking place before the end of this year.
In a press release, Air Force program executive officer for Mobility and Training Aircraft, Lynda Rutledge, articulated the organization’s excitement to work with these innovative and quick-moving air vehicle manufacturers. In the first phase of the collaboration, Beta and Joby submitted “solutions briefs”. These led to a second phase in which the Air Force engaged with them directly to assess their vehicles’ commercial viability, operational utility, technical readiness level, certification path, timelines, needs, and opportunities. Now in the third stage, the OEMs may submit full written proposals for the potential award of an “Other Transaction for Prototype” (OTP) agreement.
Beta and Joby are among the most advanced and well-funded eVTOL developers in an increasingly crowded market. California-based Joby unveiled its prototype air taxi in January of this year, when it also announced $590 million in Series C funding, the bulk of which came from Toyota Motor Corp. Vermont-based Beta — which has already conducted an extensive flight test campaign with its Ava XC prototype — is now poised to reveal its new eVTOL, called ALIA. It has a launch customer in United Therapeutics, which plans to use the 6,000-pound (2,720-kilogram) aircraft to transport human organs.
Why it’s important: The defense sector’s increased interest in aerial mobility is providing a contract diversification opportunity for manufacturers such as Beta and Joby. The companies could greatly benefit in the long run by providing their products to both commercial and military applications, as it would enable financial diversity and mitigate the impact of a downturn in a single sector. The benefit of this strategy has recently been underscored by the impact of COVID-19; as the commercial aviation industry and aircraft orders have stalled, defense contractors continue to fulfill demand at exceedingly high rates.
Sources // USAF; eVTOL.com
Joby Aviation, a budding eVTOL air taxi designer and manufacturer partially backed by Toyota, has begun work on its manufacturing facilities in Marina, California. In the latest news, Joby has begun leasing and renovating several hangars at the Marina Municipal Airport. According to Joby spokesperson Mojgan Khalili, the new facilities will be used to “support the development and manufacturing of...
Joby Aviation, a budding eVTOL air taxi designer and manufacturer partially backed by Toyota, has begun work on its manufacturing facilities in Marina, California. In the latest news, Joby has begun leasing and renovating several hangars at the Marina Municipal Airport. According to Joby spokesperson Mojgan Khalili, the new facilities will be used to “support the development and manufacturing of our electric aircraft.” Eventually, the Joby space at Marina Airport may occupy as much as 30 acres.
Joby recently announced a notable Series C fundraising sum of over $720M with collaboration from investors like Toyota Motors and JIMCO, a major middle-eastern investment company. Joby is based in Northern California near its upcoming facilities in Marina, and only recently came out of ‘stealth mode’ with images of its latest prototype. Joby also recently announced its partnership with Uber Elevate to bring its world-wide electric urban air taxi vision to life.
Joby currently occupies three hangars at Marina taking up 30,000 square feet each, with plans to build an ‘aviation tent’ outside these facilities taking an additional 55,000 square feet. Architectural plans for the final aircraft manufacturing facility are already under review, which will take up 580,000 square feet total.
Although Joby has yet to say what specific activities will take place at the initial hangers and aviation tent, Joby’s intent is to establish a strong presence in the Marina community, bringing a wide variety of new air taxi related jobs to the area. According to posts from the city of Marina’s website, Joby is “already making a big impact on Marina with new jobs, improved airport facilities and new high tech interest in the community.” Joby has already employed 20 people full time in the Marina facility, and on some days, 40 people.
Why it’s important: Joby’s recent entrance into the field of highly funded air taxi companies further establishes the future of eVTOL. The impending reality of the air taxi industry is becoming very clear as Joby gears up to mass produce its aircraft.
Source // Monterey Herald
Jameel Investment Management Company (JIMCO), the investment arm of Abdul Latif Jameel, has announced its participation in a Series C round of funding for California-based startup Joby Aviation, which recently raised an additional $590 million in capital. Joby has attracted several big names in the automotive, aerospace, and financial sectors in its recent round of funding including Toyota Motor Corporation,...
Jameel Investment Management Company (JIMCO), the investment arm of Abdul Latif Jameel, has announced its participation in a Series C round of funding for California-based startup Joby Aviation, which recently raised an additional $590 million in capital.
Joby has attracted several big names in the automotive, aerospace, and financial sectors in its recent round of funding including Toyota Motor Corporation, JetBlue Technology Ventures, and Intel Capital, among others. JIMCO’s investment in Joby brings the total funding to $720 million, making Joby the most funded eVTOL manufacturer in the aerial mobility industry. The latest round of funding will give Joby a leg up on the competition within the aerial mobility playing field as it recently announced plans to greatly expand operations at its Marina, CA site.
The move is in line with Abdul Latif Jameel’s strategy of making high-stakes investments in the future of mobility. Abdul Latif Jameel has a strong track record as a value-adding investor – through supporting innovative startups in the evolving mobility industry, and by bringing long-standing regional expertise and access to a global network of partners.
Hassan Jameel, Deputy President and Vice Chairman of Abdul Latif Jameel, said: “Through JIMCO’s investment, Abdul Latif Jameel is leveraging its regional expertise for Joby Aviation. Air taxi service is still in the early stages of commercialization, but one that has the potential to completely transform the future of mobility. We are excited to be a part of this new chapter for the sector, bringing fast, affordable, and zero-emissions air mobility to Saudi Arabia and the wider MENA region. Improving daily transportation in line with environmental sustainability is a mission we share with all our partners in business, and one which we are committed to delivering on.”
Said Paul Sciarra, Executive Chairman of Joby Aviation.“We are very pleased to have Abdul Latif Jameel as new backers in our recent Series C financing round. We respect their track-record of significant investment in the future of electric mobility.”
Why it matters: Joby’s significant fundraising and expansion plans promise to be competitive with the biggest names in the industry. JIMCO’s investment in Joby is notable given its track record for selecting innovative startups, and its wide range of mobility expertise. To date, the $720M USD raised makes Joby the most funded eVTOL manufacturer.
Joby Aviation, backed by Uber, plans to build a large manufacturing facility in Marina, CA The flying car company recently opened a 30 day period for public comment and the release of environmental reviews surrounding its plans to develop a factory at the Marina Municipal Airport. The move could bring up to 600 tech jobs to the region and be...
Joby Aviation, backed by Uber, plans to build a large manufacturing facility in Marina, CA
The flying car company recently opened a 30 day period for public comment and the release of environmental reviews surrounding its plans to develop a factory at the Marina Municipal Airport. The move could bring up to 600 tech jobs to the region and be one of the epicenters of Uber’s ambitious plans to begin commercialized air taxi services by 2023.
While Joby already has a presence on the airport, the announcement will significantly improve their manufacturing capabilities to produce their five-seat eVTOL vehicle at scale with a 580,000 sq ft factory in addition to their current hangers used for research and development.
Inside, the plant would allow for “manufacturing, composite fabrication, assemblage of aircraft, parts testing, and research and development,” according to environmental review documents.
The company has already listed several job posting related to the construction of the new factory and comments, “Joby is in the early stages of setting up facilities and equipment in Marina, California for the high rate production of our vehicle. We intend to mass produce our aircraft in multiple buildings and are putting together a team to design and engineer the industrial facilities from the ground up.”
“Joby Aviation is an exciting startup company that is blazing the path for the future air taxi industry,” Matt Mogensen, Marina assistant city manager, writes via email. “Joby’s desire to produce its unique VTOL vehicle right here in Marina will mean hundreds of new high-tech jobs. The city also has land for development opportunities for new facilities, resources, a welcoming community, educated workforce and quality new and existing neighborhoods for the workforce.”
If approved, the city of Marina would lease Joby the land to build its factory for $310,000 per year. If the company were to exercise all of its development options, its rent would increase to $681,800 per year by the end of the ten year agreement.
Why it matters: This announcement comes in the wake of Joby’s recent partnership with Uber and the record-breaking $394M financing deal by Toyota in its recent $590M C-series round of funding. The funding will support Joby’s growth in 2020 and beyond as it will expand its personnel and manufacturing capabilities to meet its goal of introducing air taxi services with Uber by 2023. Combined with a ten years of experience in research and development and the company’s strong partnerships, Joby has positioned itself for success in the growing aerial mobility industry.
With ten years of research and development experience, Joby Aviation has become a leader in the development of eVTOL aircraft which combine elements of helicopters and small airplanes, offering benefits that include high reliability, zero emissions, fast flight speeds and quiet operations. The company is developing an aircraft that offers lower operating costs and lower costs of maintenance, while enhancing reliability...
With ten years of research and development experience, Joby Aviation has become a leader in the development of eVTOL aircraft which combine elements of helicopters and small airplanes, offering benefits that include high reliability, zero emissions, fast flight speeds and quiet operations. The company is developing an aircraft that offers lower operating costs and lower costs of maintenance, while enhancing reliability and safety features.
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.
Joby just announced that it has closed its Series C funding round with a total of $590 million in financing. Toyota demonstrated its commitment to providing “Mobility for All” by contributing $394 million of the total. In addition to Toyota’s large investment in Joby, the transforming automotive manufacturer will share its expertise in manufacturing, quality and cost controls for the development and production of Joby Aviation’s breakthrough eVTOL aircraft. Joby’s design is well matched to serve the needs of an emerging air transportation market where commuters and travelers embrace the benefits of aviation on a daily basis within and between urban centers. More details of the prototype aircraft and production plans will be announced at a later date.
Joby Aviation founder and CEO JoeBen Bevirt said: “This collaboration with Toyota represents an unprecedented commitment of money and resources for us, and for 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 to drive us toward our dream of helping a billion people save an hour+ commuting time every 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.”
Why it’s important: The collaboration between Joby and Toyota reflects Toyota’s recognition of the long-term potential of the urban air mobility market to meet the evolving needs of society, as well as Joby’s position as an industry leader in working to deliver safe and affordable air travel to everyone. Both companies believe that leveraging synergies with the automobile technologies as well as integrating best practices from the Toyota Production System will help facilitate the efficient mass production of these aircraft, while also helping Joby deliver high quality, durable and reliable aircraft, and meeting exacting safety standards.
Source // Joby Aviation
Joby is the first company to commit to Uber’s 2023 launch of its air taxi service. Rideshare group Uber and electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft developer Joby Aviation have announced a partnership to launch urban air-taxi services in selected locations from 2023. California-based Joby Aviation has become the first of seven partner companies in Uber’s Elevate urban air...
Joby is the first company to commit to Uber’s 2023 launch of its air taxi service.
Rideshare group Uber and electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft developer Joby Aviation have announced a partnership to launch urban air-taxi services in selected locations from 2023. California-based Joby Aviation has become the first of seven partner companies in Uber’s Elevate urban air mobility initiative to commit to a timetable for launching operations. The other companies are Bell, Boeing subsidiary Aurora Flight Sciences, Embraer, Pipistrel, Karem Aircraft, and Jaunt Air Mobility. Uber has named Dallas, Los Angeles, and Melbourne as prospective launch cities, but the logistics of deploying its air taxi fleet remain underdeveloped.
Joby is developing a four-seat eVTOL aircraft called the S4 and appears to have plans for a larger S5 model. The covert aircraft development team has mentioned a complete full-scale prototype of the S4, but otherwise has kept plans for certification and manufacturing expansion under wraps. The few publicized renderings show a plane-drone hybrid with 12 rotors and room in the cabin for four passengers, though a spokesperson previously cautioned that what Joby is working on now is “entirely new.” The company has yet to provide any recent photographs or images of its prototype aircraft; however, all public information about Joby’s developments are can be found in the TransportUP Hangar.
Joby is the brainchild of inventor JoeBen Bevirt, who started the company in 2009. The company operated in relative obscurity until 2018, when Joby announced it had raised a surprising $100 million from a variety of investors, including the venture capital arms of Intel, Toyota, and JetBlue. The money helped finance development of the company’s air taxi prototype, which has been conducting test flights at Joby’s private airfield in Northern California.
JoeBen Bevirt had the following to say about the partnership:
We’re excited to partner with Uber. By bringing our next-generation aircraft and urban flight operations to Uber’s on-demand ground mobility network, we aim to get people to their destinations five-times faster than driving, reduce urban congestion and accelerate the shift to sustainable modes of transit.
Why it’s important: While Uber has performed considerable research and development on its own eVTOL prototype for the future air taxi service, it will ultimately rely on the consistent manufacturing technologies of a specialized airframer to provide and maintain vehicles. The demands of operating a transportation service are far greater than would allow for a single company to simultaneously develop its own aviation technologies. Therefore, Joby Aviation is slated to fill this important role, and has committed to support the aggressive timetable of a 2023 launch.
Source // AINOnline; The Verge
Kitty Hawk and Joby Aviation have received nearly $2m from the Defense Innovation Unit Experimental (DIUx). DIUx is a Pentagon organization “founded to help America’s military make faster use of emerging technologies”. None of those involved disclosed the funding details at that time. DIUx’s plan for small electric aircraft pragmatic, according to a document that detailed the funding program. “These vehicles will …...
Kitty Hawk and Joby Aviation have received nearly $2m from the Defense Innovation Unit Experimental (DIUx). DIUx is a Pentagon organization “founded to help America’s military make faster use of emerging technologies”. None of those involved disclosed the funding details at that time.
DIUx’s plan for small electric aircraft pragmatic, according to a document that detailed the funding program. “These vehicles will … offer a niche capability for specific tactical applications with a low acoustic signature, near instantaneous start/stop, ability to spread an assault force across multiple vehicles, and automated systems.”
Joby Aviation received $970,000 from the DIUx in January last year. Kitty Hawk received $1m a few months later. However, neither company is having issues with funding; Larry Page is bankrolling Kitty Hawk, and Joby closed a $100m investment round in February this year with a number of venture capital companies.
From the Gaurdian website: “Experimental airworthiness certificates granted by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), previously unreported, detail exactly how and where the aircraft are being tested.”
“Although neither vehicle can automatically sense and avoid birds or other aircraft, both are programmed to return safely back to base if their remote control systems fail. Joby’s S4 also has a full-aircraft parachute in case it suffers “a catastrophic failure”.
The S4 will mostly fly over agricultural areas and the open ocean from the ranch of Joby’s CEO, JoeBen Bevirt, located in the hills above Santa Cruz. It will also operate out of Fort Hunter Liggett, a large US army base 150 miles south of San Francisco. The FAA application says Joby has a “Department of Defense contract to perform test operations” inside the base’s airspace. Joby did not respond to multiple requests for clarification.
In May, Uber announced that it was co-developing an ultra-quiet rotor for a flying taxi with the US army.
Lt Col Michelle Baldanza, a defense department spokesperson, would say only: “DIUx is working with various personal aerial vehicle companies, all of which are selected via a competitive process open to any commercial entity.” The FAA airworthiness certificates for both vehicles specify: “No weapons may be added to the [unmanned aircraft].”
Why it’s important: A large amount of government interest is involved with two of the industry’s largest players. While there are statements that no weapons will be added to the aircraft at this time, future developments must eventually start to shift toward military applications for these planned small personal aerial vehicles.
- The Gaurdian
Joby Aviation is a Santa Cruz, CA based company developing the Joby S4 eVTOL. The S4 has been kept predominantly under wraps from the public during the design phase, but recently announced plans for a new manufacturing facility to begin production of its vehicle. Joby's team is extremely experienced and has executed on numerous projects in the past that demanded a high degree of technical acuity, and the company is well-funded by Toyota and other investors.
Stage of Development
Aircraft Type: Winged VTOL
Powerplant: Distributed Electric Propulsion (DEP) System powered by lithium-nickel-cobalt-manganese-oxide batteries
Range: 150 miles
Top Speed: 200 mph
Propeller Configuration: Four (4) propellers tilt vertically including its entire motor nacelle, and two (2) of the propellers tilt vertically with a linkage mechanism
Passenger/Payload Capacity: 1 pilot and 4 passengers
Autonomy Level: Piloted
Dimensions: 35 ft wingspan, 24 ft length
- Safety assurance in excess of CS-23 cert requirements
- Unified flight control – extremely simple vehicle operations (SVO)
- 100 times quieter than a helicopter
- Weight: 4,000 lb
- Windows: Large windows for spectacular views for the passengers
- Fuselage: Composite
- Landing gear: Tricycle wheeled retractable landing gear.
- First flight: On February 1st, 2018, a prototype executed a 15 minute, 15 mile loop which included a piloted vertical takeoff
Our Take on Joby
Joby's small media presence seems to be by design - Joby's team has been working with maximum intensity on bringing the project to fruition and testing their full scale S4 prototype. The company has recently closed large funding rounds - which included investors such as Toyota, JetBlue Baillie Gifford - and is demonstrating strong momentum as it stands up its new manufacturing facility in California. Once the facility is operational, it's likely we will be seeing substantially more news from Joby as it begins testing and certifying vehicles.
The Latest News from TransportUP
Joby Aviation Releases First Footage of Air Taxi Prototype in FlightFebruary 26, 2021
Jaunt Air Mobility Awarded Air Force Contract for eVTOL Noise Reduction ResearchFebruary 25, 2021
How Aerial Mobility will Merge with Private Aviation Management InfrastructureFebruary 23, 2021
Back to The Hangar
26 Feb 2018 || 1 min read Startup Air-Taxi company Joby Aviation has raised $100 million in funding from a number of investors including Toyota, JetBlue, and Intel during their latest Seed B fundraising round. This effort brings Joby to $130 million in total funding for their air-taxi project, which intends to fly 5 passengers as far as 150 miles...
26 Feb 2018 || 1 min read
Startup Air-Taxi company Joby Aviation has raised $100 million in funding from a number of investors including Toyota, JetBlue, and Intel during their latest Seed B fundraising round. This effort brings Joby to $130 million in total funding for their air-taxi project, which intends to fly 5 passengers as far as 150 miles on a single charge of their eVTOL, all while maintaining “ultra-quiet” noise levels. To date, Joby has kept many of its designs concealed from the public, and claims that their vehicle will be “absolutely all new”.
- Flying Magazine Article: https://www.flyingmag.com/air-taxi-startup-joby-aviation-raises-100-million