The world has long dreamed of a day when flying cars become part of daily life. And despite many attempts, that day hasn’t arrived. But we might not have to wait much longer. Advances in battery and electric propulsion technology have enabled entirely new types of aircraft to take to the skies. Startups Joby, Archer, Vertical, Lilium and more are developing eVTOLs, electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft, with the vision of making air taxis a reality.
CNBC got an inside look at Joby Aviation, one of the eVTOL players with grand ambitions of not only building the aircraft but also operating an Uber-like air taxi business.
“This new mode of transportation allows us to move into the third dimension and rethink the way our cities operate,” said founder and CEO, JoeBen Bevirt.
Founded in 2009 in Santa Cruz, California, the company has received investments from Toyota, Delta Air Lines, Uber and the U.S. Department of Defense. It raised $1.6 billion last year when it went public via a SPAC with Reinvent Technology Partners, which is run by Linkedin co-founder Reid Hoffman and Zynga founder Marc Pincus.
Joby is currently manufacturing and performing flight tests at its pilot facility outside of Monterey in Marina, California. In addition to developing the eVTOL, the company plans to operate an air taxi service where customers can book a ride using Joby’s app, or through one of its partners, such as Delta and Uber. It had planned to launch in late 2024 but recently pushed that back into 2025, citing Federal Aviation Administration changes and internal challenges.