Joby Aviation, a startup based in California, announced today that it secured $100 million in funding from some major investors.
Investors included the venture capital arms of Intel, Toyota, and JetBlue. This new round of financing for Joby Aviation brought their total funding to over $130 million
The money will help in the development of the company’s air taxi prototype, which, according to a report in Bloomberg, has been conducting test flights at Joby’s private airfield in Northern California.
Joby is the brainchild of inventor JoeBen Bevirt, who started the company in 2009. Bevirt told the Santa Cruz Sentinel that he plans to hire 100 additional engineers to his team of 120 employees in order to design and build a functioning air taxi vehicle. Unlike the dozens of other companies that are currently building electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft, Joby has kept much of its project under wraps.
Joby says that it has a working prototype of a 5-seat vehicle, which it claims will be “faster than existing rotorcraft, fly at least 150 miles on a charge, and be 100 times quieter than conventional aircraft during takeoff and landing, and near-silent in flyover.”
They plan to use the aircraft to “solve the problem of city congestion and long commute times.”
Joby Aviation founder and CEO JoeBen Bevirt added:
“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. We have spent the last ten years developing the technologies that have made our full-scale technical demonstrator possible and are now ready to build a commercial version of the aircraft. We’re excited to have attracted the backing of leaders in auto manufacturing, data intelligence, and transportation sectors.”
Joby isn’t the only company in pursuit of a Jetsons-esque dream of “flying cars.” At least 19 companies are developing air taxi plans, including legacy manufacturers like Boeing and Airbus, big tech firms like Uber, and small startups like Kitty Hawk, owned by Google founder Larry Page. Geely, the parent company of Volvo, recently acquired an aviation startup called Terrafugia. Intel and Daimler are investors in the German company Volocopter.