Rideshare group Uber and electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft developer Joby Aviation today announced a partnership to launch urban air-taxi services in selected locations from 2023. California-based Joby Aviation has become the first of seven partner companies in Uber’s Elevate urban air mobility initiative to commit to a timetable for launching operations. The other companies are Bell, Boeing subsidiary Aurora Flight Sciences, Embraer, Pipistrel, Karem Aircraft, and Jaunt Air Mobility.
Joby is developing a four-seat eVTOL aircraft called the S4 and appears to have plans for a larger S5 model. However, the secretive company has provided no details on the proposed timeline for getting the aircraft certified and ready for commercial service. In January 2019, it said that it had already flown a full-scale S4 demonstrator model.
Also unclear from the joint announcement by Joby and Uber is who will be operating the aircraft or where services will begin. Uber has been conducting trials and technology development work in various prospective early adopter locations, including Dallas, Los Angeles, and Melbourne (Australia).
“We’re excited to partner with Uber,” commented Joby Aviation CEO JoeBen Bevirt. “By bringing our next-generation aircraft and urban flight operations to Uber’s on-demand ground mobility network, we aim to get people to their destinations five-times faster than driving, reduce urban congestion and accelerate the shift to sustainable modes of transit.”
This story comes from the new FutureFlight.aero resource developed by AIN to provide objective, independent coverage of new aviation technology, including electric aircraft developments.