On a private airstrip in the pastoral hills of Northern California, a little startup called Joby Aviation has spent 9 years secretly developing a flying taxi prototype.
Now, the company has announced that it’s raised $100m from the likes of Toyota, JetBlue, and Intel to help it revolutionize air transport.
The Jetsons ain’t too far off
Joby Aviation was founded in 2009 by JoeBen Bevirt, a mechanical engineer who made millions selling camera tripods, then dumped it all into pursuing his true vision: the ultimate flying taxi.
Recently, Bloomberg got a peek at the working model and described it as a “cross between a drone and a small plane” — a fully electric, 5-seat air taxi, capable of flying 150 miles on a single charge and traveling at twice the speed of a helicopter (sans the noise).
The company’s ultimate vision: to build thousands of these things and create an air-based ride service that costs as much as an Uber, with landing pads scattered all around major cities.
They’re going to have a lot of competition
As The Verge reports, the flying car market is stacked with dozens of hopefuls: big boys like Boeing, Uber, and Google co-founder Larry Page (Kitty Hawk) have all heavily invested in prototyping.
Joby will use its new funds to hire another 100 engineers — software, electrical, mechanical, and aerospace — and fine-tune its prototyping process.
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