A California developer of flying taxis will become a publicly-traded company — and celebrated by unveiling its aircraft in action for the first time.
Joby Aviation founder and CEO JoeBen Bevirt made the video announcement standing in front of the company’s aircraft — which proceeded to quietly start up its six rotors, lift a few feet off the ground, turn around and begin a slow ascent.
The company, one of the numerous would-be flying car startups around the world, operated quietly for nearly a decade before landing hundreds of millions in venture capital investment — including from Toyota, Intel, and JetBlue — in recent years. Late last year, the company acquired Uber’s flying car division, and soon, it will merge with a special purpose acquisition company in order to list its shares on the New York Stock Exchange.
The transaction values Joby at $6.6 billion and is expected to generate $1.6 billion in proceeds for the company — enough to fund it through the start of “commercial operations.” Bevirt said the move would secure Joby’s future and allow its engineers to focus on certifying its aircraft and launching a commercial flying taxi service in 2024.
The company says it has conducted more than 1,000 test flights in the past 10 years and was the first to reach an agreement with the FAA on the basis for certifying an eVOTL aircraft last year. The U.S. Air Force has also approved its craft’s air-worthiness.
Joby says its fully electric, emissions-free aircraft will be able to carry four passengers and a pilot over urban traffic at speeds from 150 to 200 mph. Eventually, it hopes to cut an hour off the commutes of 1 billion people.