In a tie-up with aerospace company Joby Aviation, Toyota announced today its entry into the nascent eVTOL vehicle market. Standing for electric vertical take-off and landing, eVTOL vehicles are colloquially known as air taxis and are seen as the transportation of the future.
The collaboration reflects both companies’ recognition of the long-term potential of the urban air mobility market to meet the evolving needs of society.
"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," said Toyota Motor Corporation president and CEO Akio Toyoda. "As we take up the challenge of air transportation together with Joby, an innovator in the emerging eVTOL space, we tap the potential to revolutionise future transportation and life. Through this new and exciting endeavour, we hope to deliver freedom of movement and enjoyment to customers everywhere, on land, and now, in the sky."
The Japanese car maker is the lead investor in Joby’s latest US$590-million Series C funding and will share with its newest partner its expertise in manufacturing as well as in quality and cost controls for the production of Joby’s eVTOL aircraft.
More details of the prototype aircraft and production plans will be announced at a later date.
Joby Aviation founder and CEO JoeBen Bevirt said: "This collaboration with Toyota represents an unprecedented commitment of money and resources for us, and for this new industry, from one of the world's leading automakers. Toyota is known globally for the quality and reliability of their products driven by meticulous attention to detail and manufacturing processes. I am excited to harness Toyota's engineering and manufacturing prowess to drive us toward our dream of helping a billion people save an hour+ commuting time every day."
Both companies believe that leveraging synergies with the automobile technologies as well as integrating best practices from the Toyota Production System will help facilitate the efficient mass production of these aircraft, while also helping Joby deliver high quality, durable and reliable aircraft, and meeting exacting safety standards.
Toyota Motor Corporation executive vice president Shigeki Tomoyama will join Joby's board of directors and play an active role in setting strategic direction at the board level.