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The Race for Flying Cars

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Toyota Soars in Air Taxi Business

January 20th 2020

Traffic Jam

The company has developed a quiet, all-electric vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) aircraft, which it says will be instrumental in the commercial launch of the emerging on-demand urban air taxi market. Toyota will share its expertise in manufacturing, quality, and cost controls to support the development and production of the aircraft.

This support, says the company, along with the capital investment, will accelerate the certification and deployment of this new mode of local transportation.

"We are building a new system for transportation to transform your daily life, at greater safety and, in time, at a similar cost to driving," says Joby Aviation founder and CEO JoeBen Bevirt. "This collaboration with Toyota represents an unprecedented commitment of money and resources for us and this new industry from one of the world's leading automakers. I am excited to harness Toyota's engineering and manufacturing prowess helping to drive us to achieve our dream of saving a billion people an hour a day."

The company's aircraft is a piloted, five-seat vehicle capable of both vertical takeoff and landing and highly efficient, wingborne forward flight. It is capable of speeds of 200 miles per hour and can fly over 150 miles on a single charge.

The aircraft is 100 times quieter than conventional aircraft during takeoff and landing, and near-silent when flying overhead. The passenger experience is optimized for comfortable ride-sharing operations and efficient entry and exit.

Toyota led the latest funding round with a $394 million investment. Prior investors, including SPARX Group, Intel Capital, Capricorn Investment Group, JetBlue Technology Ventures, Toyota AI Ventures, and AME Cloud Ventures, also contributed to the round, and were joined by new investors Baillie Gifford and Global Oryx (ALJ family's investment arm).

Toyota President and CEO Akio Toyoda adds, "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 to the sky. As we take up the challenge of air transportation together with Joby, an innovator in the emerging eVTOL space, we tap the potential to revolutionize future transportation and life. Through this new and exciting endeavor, we hope to deliver freedom of movement and enjoyment to customers everywhere, on land, and now, in the sky."


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