Flying Taxi Company Completes Pre-Production Flight Tests

Two Joby pre-production EAVs have flown more than 1,500 flights over a distance totaling 33,000 miles

Chuck Martin, Editorial Director AI & IoT

May 3, 2024

4 Min Read
Joby’s two pre-production prototype aircraft completed more than 1,500 flights, spanning a total distance of more than 33,000 miles, over the past four years. Joby Aviation

Flying taxi company Joby Aviation has completed flight tests with its pre-production electric aerial vehicle (EAV).

The EAV maker now moves to flight testing with its production prototype flying vehicle as it prepares testing for credit by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

Two Joby pre-production EAVs have flown more than 1,500 flights over a distance totaling 33,000 miles, with more than 100 flights with a pilot onboard.

One of the pre-production vehicles conducted an exhibition flight from the Manhattan Downtown Heliport over the Hudson River in New York City late last year.

“Over the course of this test program, our team has shown the world how real electric air taxis are, with tens of thousands of miles flown using today’s battery technology,” said JoeBen Bevirt, founder and CEO of Joby. “Our pre-production aircraft were the second full-scale generation of Joby’s design, and their performance met or exceeded our predictions throughout the program, successfully achieving our targets for maximum range, speed, and a revolutionary acoustic footprint.”

The Joby EAV is designed to carry four passengers and a pilot and travel at speeds up to 200 mph.

Joby also recently announced plans to deliver two of its flying vehicles to MacDill Air Force Base in Florida, for use by the U.S. Force.

Related:Electric Air Taxi Flies Over New York City; New Heliport Coming

That is part of a $163 million contract Joby signed with the Department of Defense (DOD) AFWERX Agility Prime program. Joby has been working with the DOD since 2016 when it received early military funding in its development program.

MacDill is located on the southernmost tip of Tampa on the west coast of Florida, which juts out into Tampa Bay.

The base is home to the U.S. Special Operations Command, the U.S. Central Command and units from the Air Mobility Command. 

The Air Force plans to test and train with the EAV at MacDill starting in 2025.

Tampa has been EAV-friendly, recently hosting German EAV-maker Volocopter, which conducted demonstration flights at Tampa International Airport.

Joby received military airworthiness approval for its pre-production prototype aircraft in 2020.

At MacDill, the flying vehicles are expected to be used for testing for personnel transport, casualty evacuation and security force support.

Outside of U.S. operations, Joby recently agreed with the Dubai Road and Transport Authority to launch an air taxi service in Dubai.

That deal gives the EAV maker exclusive rights to operate flying taxis in Dubai for six years, with other Mideast ventures planning to bring other flying vehicles to the United Arab Emirates region.

Related:Flying Taxis Going to Air Force Base in Tampa

For example, Archer Aviation and Air Chateau International recently signed a deal for the private aviation operator to purchase EAVs to be operated in the UAE.

That deal calls for Archer to sell 100 of its flying vehicles in a deal valued at $500 million.

The deal included a non-refundable deposit of $1 million with the investment group Acorn Capital as the financial transaction partner.

In addition to U.S. EAV developers creating operations in the UAE, a Chinese flying vehicle developer also is involved.

EHang Holdings in China, the only EAV maker certified for passenger-carrying vehicle operations, has signed a long-term strategic partnership with Wings Logistics Hub to introduce EHang's autonomous EAV to the UAE.

Some of those vehicles were on display at the DriftX mobility event held recently in Abu Dhabi.

Wings Logistics Hub plans to purchase up to 100 units of the EH216 series EAV from EHang.

An EAV maker in Germany also is involved in selling EAVs into the region. 

The developer of an EAV jet is selling 10 of its air taxi jets to a company for sales in the Middle East.

ArcosJet DMCC is purchasing 10 Lilium EAVs and becoming the exclusive dealer for its private jets in the region.

Related:Flying Taxi Takes Off at Tampa Airport

Another 100 Lilium electric jets are planned for Saudi Arabia.

Saudia, the national flag carrier of Saudi Arabia, and Lilium signed a memorandum of understanding for Saudia to develop and operate an eVTOL network across Saudi Arabia. 

This would make Saudia the first airline in the region to purchase 100 Lilium jets with annual support services.

While electric aerial vehicles are being developed around the world, the Middle East has emerged as the leading location globally for the initial growth of the advanced air mobility (AAM) industry.

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Flying Cars

About the Author(s)

Chuck Martin

Editorial Director AI & IoT

Chuck Martin, author of "Flying Vehicles," New York Times Business Bestselling author and futurist, is Editorial Director at Informa Tech, home of AI Business, IoT World Today and Enter Quantum. Martin has been a leader in emerging digital technologies for more than two decades. He is considered one of the foremost emerging technology experts in the world and his latest book title "Flying Vehicles" (The Emergence of Personal Air Travel, Flying Cars, and Air Taxis) followed "Digital Transformation 3.0" (The New Business-to-Consumer Connections of The Internet of Things).  He hosts a worldwide podcast titled “The Voices of the Internet of Things with Chuck Martin,” where he converses with top executives from the companies driving the adoption of emerging technology.

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