Toyota is exploring a new mobility flightpath through collaboration with Joby Aviation, an aerospace company developing and commercialising an all-electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft. The new machine has been designed to enable fast, quiet and affordable air transportation services.
The collaboration reflects Toyota’s recognition of the long-term potential of the urban air mobility market to meet society’s evolving needs, and Joby’s status as an industry leader in delivering safe and affordable air travel for all.
“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 on the sky,” said Akio Toyoda, Toyota Motor Corporation President and CEO.
“As we take up the challenge of air transportation together with Joby, an innovator in the emerging eVTOL space, we tap the potential to revolutionise future transportation and people’s lives. Through this new and exciting endeavour, we hope to deliver freedom of movement and enjoyment to customers everywhere, on land, and now in the sky.”
As the lead investor in Joby’s $590 million (approx. £452 million) Series C financing, Toyota is continuing to leverage emerging technologies to provide Mobility for All. In addition to its $394 million investment in Joby, it will share its expertise in manufacturing, quality and cost controls for the development and production of Joby’s breakthrough eVTOL aircraft. Joby’s design is well-matched to serve the needs of an emerging air transportation market in which commuters and travellers embrace the benefits of aviation on a daily basis, within and between urban centres. More details of the prototype aircraft and production plans will be announced at a later date.
JoeBen Bevirt, Joby Aviation founder and CEO, 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 its products, driven by meticulous attention to detail and manufacturing processes. I am excited to harness Toyota’s engineering and manufacturing prowess to drive us towards our dream of helping a billion people save an hour-plus commuting time every day.”
Both companies believe that leveraging synergies with 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 meet exacting safety standards.
Shigeki Tomoyama, Toyota Motor Corporation Executive Vice President, will join Joby’s board of directors and play an active role in setting strategic direction at board level.
Automotive meets aviation
Toyota is embracing emerging technologies as it transforms into a mobility company that is better equipped to the meet the mobility needs of people everywhere. It is anticipated that the collaboration with Joby Aviation will help bring urban on-demand air transportation into the mainstream and initiate a new category in the ways people and goods can be moved.
It is also anticipated that eVTOL aircraft will help create new mobility services with the potential to alleviate persistent mobility challenges, including urban traffic congestion, increased environmental burdens and lack of transport in underpopulated areas, among others.
Joby is a leader in the development of eVTOL aircraft, which combine elements of helicopters and small aeroplanes. The benefits they offer include high reliability, zero emissions, fast flight speeds and quiet operation. The aircraft also offer lower operating and maintenance costs and enhanced safety features.
For more information about Joby Aviation, visit jobyaviation.com