U.S.-based Joby Aviation has secured US$100 million from investors led by Intel Capital, EDBI, JetBlue Technology Ventures, and Toyota AI Ventures to fund pre-production and certification of its all-electric vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) aircraft. Designed for local and regional for-hire transportation and 10 years in development, the five-passenger VTOL air taxi will fly at least 150 miles on a charge and be 100 times quieter than conventional aircraft, according to Joby. A full-scale technical demonstrator has already flown.
“Intel believes the future of transportation is data-driven—whether you’re talking about autonomous cars or next-generation air travel,” said Wendell Brooks, president, Intel Capital. “This is a truly disruptive technology with the potential to push the geographic boundaries of where people can live and work.”
Though renderings of an older configuration have circulated recently, Joby has declined to provide recent photos or renderings of the unnamed aircraft. But it has been described as a cross between a drone and a small airplane.
“We are now ready to build a commercial version of the aircraft,” said JoeBen Bevirt, Joby Aviation founder and CEO. “People waste billions of hours sitting on roads worldwide each year. We envision a future where commuting by eVTOL is a safer, faster, and cost-competitive alternative to ground transportation.”
The latest investment, announced February 1, brings Joby’s total funding to more than $130 million, and will be used in part to hire 100 additional structural and electrical engineers and experts in power electronics, battery electrochemistry, certification, flight controls, and software, Bevirt said.