California-based aerospace company Joby Aviation, which has been working on an electric aircraft for over a decade, has announced that it has closed a new Series C funding round worth $590 million.
The company has also revealed that majority of the investment — $394 million to be precise — comes from lead investor Toyota Motor Corporation. With this, Toyota will work with Joby to design and build a fleet of vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) aircraft for use in a ride-hailing service.
This is a significant move from Toyota betting on the future of air transportation. In a press release detailing the round, Toyota President and CEO Akio Toyoda indicated that the company is serious about eVTOLs and air transport in general. He said: “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, we tap the potential to revolutionize future transportation and life. We hope to deliver freedom of movement and enjoyment to customers everywhere, on land, and now, in the sky.”
Joby Aviation was founded in the year 2009 by JoeBen Bevirt and is based on Santa Cruz, California. The company’s proprietary aircraft is a piloted eVTOL which can fly at up to 200 miles per hour for a total distance of over 150 miles on a single charge.
It had raised $100 million in 2018 which was used for the development of the company’s air taxi prototype and the firm has has been conducting test flights at Joby’s private airfield in Northern California.
Kept under the wraps so far, Joby has now shared image of its all-electric aircraft which has six rotors and seats five, including the pilot. It can take off vertically and then shift into forward flight using tilt rotors.