The California firm that took over Uber’s effort to create an eVTOL transportation industry in 2020 and received a near-simultaneous boost from the U.S. Air Force followed up in February announcing that Garmin will integrate its G3000 flight deck into the multirotor aircraft, and—oh, by the way—the FAA has agreed to some needed modifications to the Part 23 certification process that could facilitate the first eVTOL approval in the agency’s history.
The flurry of developments prompted one publication to declare Joby the eVTOL “market leader” years ahead of the first paying passenger’s flight, though the Air Force Agility Prime program stands to give Joby a significant leg up on the competition, of which there is plenty, at least in terms of announced intentions and design concepts.
“The Agility Prime and Joby partnership is now on an accelerated path to identify the opportunities for early adoption of these aircraft for logistics that provide flexibility to operators and savings to taxpayers. We are also one step closer to the commercialization of a clean, quiet, modern, transportation system,” said Agility Prime Director Nathan P. Diller, in a news release.
Joby Aviation founder and CEO JoeBen Bevirt said the company is ready to capitalize on a decade of engineering and more than 1,000 test flights. Collaboration with the Air Force will allow Joby to utilize certain facilities, and provides revenue to support further testing and evaluation. Joby will in return share data and insight with the government.
“We’re excited to now be playing a key role in demonstrating the potential of this new sector,” Bevirt said, noting the U.S. government will have “a front row seat.”
Joby is not alone seeking FAA approval of the first eVTOL design: German startup Volocopter hopes to leverage a future European approval to bring its take on the concept to the United States in coming years.