Joby Aviation, a startup that aims to build a flying taxi that looks just like a small airplane, has raised $100 million from the likes of Toyota, Jet Blue and Intel, according to a statement from the company on Thursday. Amazingly, people are still at this idea.
The company’s planning to hire 100 additional engineers, adding on to its current team of 120 employees, Joby founder JoeBen Bevirt told the Santa Cruz Sentinel. Little has been disclosed about the startup’s ambitions, but Joby opened up about its vision for flying taxis in a blog post Wednesday:
What you might not know is that for nearly a decade the company has also been working on a vehicle to achieve a specific mission: to enable a transportation service that saves people an hour a day in their day-to-day travel.
We’ve been working toward a future where you can book a flight on one of our vehicles with one click. It’ll pick you up from a nearby vertiport and fly you safely to your destination. You’ll get there at least five times faster than driving, with zero emissions.
This is an ambitious goal, and we think about tackling it in three distinct steps.
There’s a number of startups touting flying cars as the way of the future, despite acknowledging the myriad challenges of launching an airborne taxi service. So it’s refreshing to see Joby sounding humble here.
Those three steps Joby talks about are building the “right vehicle,” launching a transportation service, and then scaling it to the point prices are low and palatable for passengers. Right now, the company says, it’s still focused on step one.
“We’re in the hard business of vehicle development because the right vehicle is the linchpin to opening up a new market for short-hop air transportation,” Joby says.
The whole concept’s still a hard sell. There’s been a torrent of flying car announcements over the last year—so many that our beloved Jason Torchinsky says he now feels deflated whenever he hears one. That’s Torch we’re talking about!
To Joby’s credit, the startup has some big names lining its pockets, so, at the very least, it won’t have to worry about a lack of funds. More so, it didn’t even mention a possible timeline. I’ll take that as a positive move. Well done.