Toyota served as the lead investor in Joby's $590 million Series C financing round and says it will share its vaunted expertise in manufacturing, quality and cost controls to help Joby develop, produce and commercialize its eVTOL aircraft.
Japanese auto giant Toyota said Thursday it is investing almost US$400 million in a company working on commercialising electric flying cars for "fast, quiet and affordable air transportation services".
These benefits make eVTOL the main candidate to develop urban air transport networks and a number of companies, including Joby and EHang of China, Airbus and more are working on this type of boats for use in this type of short-distance urban traffic for both people and cargo.
The fresh funding follows Toyota's investment in February 2018 through its affiliated venture capital subsidiary, Toyota AI Ventures.
With this latest funding round and previous funding rounds, Toyota has now invested a total of $720 million in Joby Aviation.
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Toyota will share its expertise in quality, manufacturing and costs controls with Joby and says the United States company's design is well-matched to embrace the needs of the emerging urban air transport market.
As part of the investment, Shigeki Tomoyama, the Executive Vice President of Toyota Motor Corporation, will join Joby Aviation's board of directors.
Little is known about the model at this point, but Joby's website says it is a four-passenger aircraft that can reach speeds of 200 mph (322 km / h) and travel more than 150 miles (241 km) on a single charge. "As we take up the challenge of air transportation together with Joby, an innovator in the emerging eVTOL space, we tap the potential to revolutionize future transportation and life". Hyundai recently said it is teaming up with Uber Technologies to manufacture eVTOLs. Through this exciting new effort, we hope to offer freedom of movement and enjoyment to customers everywhere, on land and now, in heaven.
Joby Aviation founder and CEO JoeBen Bevirt said, "We are building a new system for transportation to transform your daily life, at greater safety and, in time, at a similar cost to driving".
"The aircraft is 100 times quieter than conventional aircraft during takeoff and landing and near-silent when flying overhead", said the company in a statement. This is expected to smoothen the FAA certification process, while also expediting commercial deployment.