Joby Aviation has announced that it is teaming up with ANA, the Japanese airline with an objective to bring air taxi ridesharing services in Japan. To investigate possible ways in which the air taxis can be connected to ground-based transportation, Toyota Motor Corporation will also be joining the two companies to resolve the purpose.

The aim of Joby Aviation to focus on the operations and other factors came into the limelight recently, when the company also partnered with the local telecommunications company SK Telecom to launch air taxi services in South Korea.

Both the companies were not able to disclose the specific details about the services like when the companies would begin piloting the aircraft of Joby as they are planning to launch commercial ridesharing air taxi services to Japan, which company, Joby or ANA would be operating the aircraft, and the major factor is the customer interaction with it. According to the company spokesperson of Joby, the details of the service are ‘in due course’ as Toyota and ANA are in the phase of planning where both the companies are considering pilot training, development of infrastructure, flight operations, interaction, and acceptance of the public, regulatory requirements and the ways to connect aerial transportation to a larger network of transportation.

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ANA is a Japanese airline that shares an objective with Joby to bring air taxi ridesharing services in Japan.

Other than being a partner in this future service, Toyota is also one of the strategic investors of Joby. The auto giant not only led the series C round of Joby in the year 2020 but also shared expertise with the company on manufacturing, electrification technology, quality, and cost controls as well. The company has stated that the announcement is an initiative to define the future of air taxi services in Japan and both the companies will partner on all the details to establish the service as a revolutionary form of transportation. The aircraft by Joby has a maximum range of 150 miles and a speed of 200 miles per hour with which, the start-up estimates that a trip from Kansai International Airport to Osaka train station could take 15 minutes of time, which takes an hour otherwise by car.

The initial applications for the commercial services are likely to be limited as the electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) vehicles consist of space that can fit only four passengers. The possibility of air taxis being an ordinary service might take a few more years till Joby starts the mass production of its modals which are currently present or else the company builds bigger eVTOLs that are more spacious. The reason is not only time and capital but also the possible regulatory setback. The start-up is still in line to get certifications in every market the company is trying to enter. The company last week signed a G-1 or stage four with the Federation Aviation Administration in the US Department of Transportation, which is a certification basis for the aircraft, allowing the company to start the ‘implementation phase’ in the US.

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Joby estimates that a trip that takes an hour by car could be completed in less than 15 minutes with its aircraft. 

The Public-Private Council for the Air Mobility Revolution studies the certification of eVTOLs in Japan, which a group of academics, researchers, start-ups, airlines, and other public sector bodies that are working towards making aerial ridesharing a common adoption in Japan. Toyota, Joby, and ANA are also members of this group. The Japan Civil Aviation Bureau will authorize the final certification as it is a part of the Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism Ministry.

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