Toyota Motor Corporation – maker of cars/pickup trucks and the like – has made a US$394million investment into Joby Aviation – prospective maker of the flying hexacopter thing you see above. Interesting.
Joby’s vehicle is actually described as an electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft, and the Santa Cruz-based company has plans to roll out a flying taxi service by 2023. The future’s coming people, get ready.
The eVTOL plane thing can apparently hit 320km/h and will cover a range of over 240km on a single charge. It can also seat four, plus a professional pilot, and is completely emissions-free. Well, that’s the plan anyway.
Toyota says it recognises “the long-term potential of the urban air mobility market” and that, in addition to the investment, it’ll share expertise in manufacturing, quality, safety and cost controls with Joby. It’ll also help with the company’s ‘strategic direction’ and is hoping to get the eVTOL into mass production.
So, the plan is for Toyota to transition from carmaker into ‘mobility company’. What do you think, Internet?
STORY Greg Potts