There are many companies working on the concept of flying taxis with plans to transform the way we fly in cities, including Volocopter, Wisk, Vertical Aerospace, Eve and a few others. But, so far Joby Aviation seems to gaining the most momentum.
Joby Aviation, the California-based developer of commercial all-electric aircraft, has now applied for its aircraft design to be certified for use in Japan. This now makes it officially three locations for use of its eVTOL aircraft, namely the US, the UK and now Japan.
The latest announcement, made on 18 October 2022, follows a recent agreement between Japanese and US regulatory authorities to deliver a streamlined approval process for US applicants who wish to validate their eVTOL designs in Japan. Joby applied to the Japan Civil Aviation Bureau (JCAB) for the validation of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) “type certification” for its all-electric Joby S4 aircraft design to be certified for commercial use in Japan.
According to Joby Aviation chief executive JoeBen Bevirt, the approval will unlock “the potential for electric aerial ridesharing to offer a new form of clean and affordable urban and regional connectivity across Japan.”
“With 92% of residents living in urban areas, we have a spectacular opportunity to save people time in congested cities like Tokyo, Yokohama, and Osaka while also reducing their impact on the environment,” Bevirt said.
Joby also said it believes it is the first eVTOL manufacturer to apply for foreign validation of an FAA-type certificate.
Joby Aviation has already applied for type certification from the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) and expects the US to become its first operating market, followed shortly by the UK , then Japan.
“By working hand-in-hand on certification, the U.K. and the U.S. are setting the stage for these two countries to be amongst the earliest adopters of this important new technology,” Joby Aviation chief executive JoeBen Bevirt was cited in the statement.
- In 2015, Joby developed at their current Subscale Demonstrator.
- In 2017 the first full-scale demonstrator took to the skies.
- In 2019, the pre-production prototype began a rigorous flight testing program.
- In 2020, Joby Aviation signed the Stage 4 “G-1” certification basis with the FAA, having received an initial Stage 2 G-1 from the agency in 2019.
- In December 2020, Joby became the first eVTOL company to receive airworthiness approval from the U.S Air Force.
- In Dec 2020, Joby Aviation received a USD75 million Investment from Uber under the “Uber Elevate Partnership”, bringing its all-time total investment in Joby to USD125 million and Joby Aviation’s total funding, including previous rounds, to USD820 million.
- In 2021, Joby listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE:JOBY)
- In 2021, Toyota, became a strategic investor in Joby, and has deployed dozens of engineers to work shoulder-to-shoulder with Joby, lending their expertise on factory layout, manufacturing process development and high-volume production.
- Also in 2021, the pre-production prototype flew more than 5,300 miles, including a flight of 154.6 miles on a single charge.
- In 2022, Joby received their FAA Part 135 Air Carrier Certificate, which allows Joby to operate a commercial air taxi service.
- In March 2022, airspace, Joby Aviation joined the UK-based trade association for aerospace, defence and security companies ADS Group and partnered with the country’s main air navigation service provider NATS, aiming to explore the integration of air taxi services into the UK.
- In July 2022, Joby formally applied for foreign validation of the FAA type certificate in the United Kingdom.
- On October 11, 2022, Delta Air Lines has invested an equity investment of USD60 million, with the option to expand the total amount invested to up to USD200 million
The Joby S4 eVTOL
Built as a piloted on-demand air taxi service, the Joby S4 is intended to be capable of flying up to 150 miles (240 kilometres) on a single charge at a top speed of 200 miles per hour (around 320 kilometres per hour). The all-electric air vehicle is powered by six rotors, with four propellers that tilt vertically including its entire motor nacelle, and two of the propellers tilt vertically with a linkage mechanism.
Development of the Joby S4 has not been without problems, back in February 2022, a remotely controlled prototype crashed as it was carrying out a test flight. However, flights resumed in late March 2022 with a second pre-production aircraft.
Type: Winged eVTOL
Powerplant: Distributed Electric Propulsion (DEP) System powered by lithium-nickel-cobalt-manganese-oxide batteries
Range: 150 miles
Top Speed: 200 mph
Passenger: 1 pilot and 4/5 passengers
Dimensions: 35 ft. wingspan, 24 ft. length