Toyota-Backed eVTOL Approved for Test FlightsToyota-Backed eVTOL Approved for Test Flights
Craft being delivered to Edwards Air Force Base as part of $131 million U.S. Air Force contract
July 12, 2023
Joby Aviation has received approval from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to start flight testing its first production prototype.
The eVTOL (electric vertical takeoff and landing) craft is expected to be operated by Joby at Edwards Air Force Base as part of the company’s $131 million contract with the U.S. Air Force.
Toyota is Joby’s strategic partner and largest external shareholder, having invested $400 million in the venture. The companies recently signed an agreement for the supply of powertrain and actuation components.
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“We congratulate Joby on reaching this milestone and look forward to working ever more closely as Joby prepares to scale production and start operations,” said Tetsuo “Ted” Ogawa, president and CEO of Toyota Motor North America, who also joined Joby’s board of directors.
Pre-production versions of the Joby electric aircraft have flown 30,000 miles since 2019, according to the company.
Joby recently partnered with Delta Air Lines to deliver its vehicles for travelers going to and from airports. Joby expects to begin commercial passenger operations in 2025.
“Today marks an important step forward on the journey to deliver a more sustainable future of travel while elevating the customer experience,” said Gail Grimmett, senior vice president, sustainability performance and strategic partnerships at Delta.
Initial flight testing of the vehicle is planned before being delivered to Edwards Air Force Base, where it is expected to be used to demonstrate various potential logistics use cases.
“Today’s achievement is the culmination of years of investment in our processes and technology and it marks a major step on our journey to scaled production,” said JoeBen Bevirt, founder and CEO of Joby. “We’re proud to have launched production in our home state of California. I’m incredibly grateful to the Joby team for their commitment to ensuring Joby remains the clear leader in this new sector and to Toyota for sharing their knowledge and experience with us over many years.”
Unlike other recent FAA approvals for the testing of flying vehicles, the Joby aircraft is not designed to also be driven on roads.
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