Joby Aviation capped off the month of September with several stand-out news stories.
First, Joby delivered the Air Force’s first full-scale aircraft to Edwards Air Force base six months ahead of schedule. The Joby aircraft will be used to demonstrate a range of logistics missions, including cargo and passenger transportation, and will be operated by both Joby and U.S. Air Force personnel. In partnership with the U.S. Air Force, NASA will also use the aircraft for research focused on how these aircraft could fit into the national airspace.
Also in September, Joby signed a collaboration agreement with South Korean Telecommunications Company (SK Telecom). The South Korean government has been a major supporter of the development of urban air mobility, with the nation creating the K-UAM Grand Challenge to incentivize the development of UAM in the nation. K-UAM Grand Challenge is a large-scale demonstration program launched by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport (MOLIT) to test the safety and suitability of UAM in an urban environment and to support the commercialization of UAM by 2025. This has attracted considerable domestic and international interest, as highlighted through this partnership. The two companies will undertake a variety of flight testing associated with the Grand Challenge.
All of this news follows the selection in September of Dayton, Ohio, as the location of Joby’s first manufacturing facility. Joby plans to build a facility capable of delivering up to 500 aircraft per year at Dayton International Airport. Joby projects the facility will bring 2,000 jobs to the area. The 140-acre site has the potential to support significant further growth over time, providing enough land to build up to 2 million square feet of manufacturing space. Construction of the Ohio facility is expected to start in 2024 and be completed in 2025. Joby plans to use existing nearby buildings to begin near-term operations. According to Joby, the State of Ohio, JobsOhio, and local political subdivisions have offered incentives and benefits of up to $325 million to support development of the facility, while Joby plans to invest up to $500 million as it scales operations at the site.
The electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft company was formed in 2009 as an engineering workshop that focused on aerospace technologies such as electric motors, lithium-ion batteries, and flight software. Fast forward to 2012 and the company is working with NASA on electric flight research. By 2016 the company had unveiled its first flight demonstrator, with the aircraft evolving over the course of the next three years as it grew to consumer scale. Given this relationship with NASA, Joby is no stranger to collaborating with the federal government and is a partner in the Air Force Agility Prime AFWERX program.