Joby Aviation is a Californian venture-backed aerospace company, developing an electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft that it intends to operate as an air taxi service. Joby Aviation is headquartered in Santa Cruz, California, and has disclosed offices in San Carlos, California; Marina, California; and Munich, Germany.
Joby Aviation was founded on 11 September, 2009 (called Joby Aero) as one of several projects incubated by JoeBen Bevirt on his ranch in the Santa Cruz mountains, using the proceeds from successful exits of previous companies. According to the company's website, the early years were spent exploring different components of electric aviation, including electric motors, flight software, and lithium-ion batteries. This research led Joby to participate in the NASA LEAPTech and X-57 Maxwell projects, before developing its own air taxi concept. Joby's early concept, publicly called the S2, had eight tilting propellers arrayed along the leading edge of its wing and four more tilting propellers mounted on its V-shaped tail. Later, the company moved to a configuration that features six rotating propellers.
By 2015, the company was operating subscale prototypes of its eVTOL aircraft, moving to full-scale unmanned prototypes in 2017, and a production prototype in 2019. In 2018, the company announced a Series B funding round of $100 million, led by Toyota AI Ventures. By 2019, the company was in active conversations with the FAA about certifying the aircraft and announced a partnership with Uber's Elevate division.
Joby has mostly operated in stealth mode, in some cases leading to skepticism of the company's claims. The first journalist granted access to the aircraft in 2018 agreed not to disclose details about the aircraft. In 2020, however, the company began releasing significantly more information, starting with its January announcement of a $590 million funding round, led by Toyota Motor Corporation. At that announcement, the company revealed its production vehicle. In January, 2020, Bevirt was a keynote speaker at the meeting of the Vertical Flight Society.
In January 2020, Joby announced plans to manufacture the aircraft in Marina, California at the Marina Municipal Airport. The plans include an initial 55,000 square foot production facility, followed by a 500,000 square foot factory. Late in 2020, Joby Aviation acquired Uber Elevate, and the U.S. Air Force announced it had granted Joby its first eVTOL airworthiness certification as part of its Agility Prime program.
In February 2021, the company announced a partnership with Garmin to provide flight deck equipment and announced that it had agreed a 'G-1' certification basis for its aircraft with the FAA. In May, 2021, a NOVA episode featured Joby.
The City and FAA approved the company's plan in June 2021.
In August 2021 the company announced a 155-mi. flight on a single charge in 77 minutes, comparative noise tests against other aircraft and its application for air Part 135 and Part 23 carrier certifications. The battery used 811 NMC (nickel-manganese-cobalt oxide) cathode and a graphite anode. On August 11, the company went public using a special purpose acquisition company.
In January 2022, the company registered what it claimed was the fastest eVTOL flight to date, traveling at a true airspeed of 205 mph (330 km/h).