Joby Aviation and Uber Elevate “have agreed to integrate their respective services into each other’s apps, enabling seamless integration between ground and air travel for future customers,” according to the press release.
The deal had been rumored for several months, and online news source Axios reported on December 4 that Uber was in talks with Joby. The COVID-19 pandemic dealt a blow to Uber, which shed 7,000 jobs and closed 40 offices.
Uber and Uber Elevate have been the principal cheerleaders for the emergence of eVTOLs as airborne taxis. By late 2019 it had selected eight eVTOL designs as candidates for participation in its airborne analog to its auto-based ride-sharing service. Uber has said that it was working with its partners to come up with pilot certification, airframe standards, and airspace regulations together with the FAA and the European Union Aviation Safety Agency.
Meanwhile, Joby had already raised about $700 million from firms such as Toyota, Intel, and JetBlue. Uber’s latest investment brings the total Joby has raised to $820 million, with a total of $125 million of that coming from Uber. Joby will acquire Uber’s tools and team.
Joby has designed the S4, an eVTOL it says can fly a pilot and four passengers as far as 150 nautical miles, and as fast as 200 mph. It was one of the partners selected by Uber Elevate. Joby expects it will be certified by 2022 and will enter into service in 2023. In 2019, Joby said it was looking to fill 1,600 jobs for the S4 project.
“Advanced air mobility has the potential to be exponentially positive for the environment and future generations,” said Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi. “This deal allows us to deepen our partnership with Joby, the clear leader in this field, to accelerate the path to market for these technologies. We’re excited for their transformational mobility solution to become available to the millions of customers who rely on our platform.”