Uber Elevate Sells to Joby Aviation: The Advance of Air Taxis and Urban Air Mobility

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Uber Elevate, Uber’s urban air mobility (UAM) initiative, has been acquired by Joby Aviation. Joby Aviation is a developer of an all-electric, vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) passenger aircraft.   As part of the deal, Uber has invested a further $75 million in Joby.

While Joby has to date operated without fanfare, a press release announces that the deal brings Joby Aviation’s total funding including previous rounds to $820 million, an indication in the level of interest the investment community has in urban air mobility (UAM) and passenger drones.

While Joby will acquire Uber Elevate, Uber is not stepping away from their vision of a multimodal transportation network.  “…the two parent companies have agreed to integrate their respective services into each other’s apps, enabling seamless integration between ground and air travel for future customers,” says a Joby Aviation press release.

Joby Aviation aircraft

Uber Elevate was started in 2016 and has been an important player in the urban air mobility discussion – helping to establish a possible framework for integrating drones and air taxis into a transportation network.   Uber’s work on UAM combined with Joby Aviation’s aircraft could represent a powerful partnership in future transportation. “[Uber’s] software tools enabling market selection, demand simulation and multi-modal operations are at the center of their work, and form the basis of this future-focused deal,” says Joby Aviation.

“We were proud to partner with Uber Elevate last year and we’re even prouder to be welcoming them into the Joby team today, while deepening our cooperation with Uber.

“The team at Uber Elevate has not only played an important role in our industry, they have also developed a remarkable set of software tools that build on more than a decade of experience enabling on-demand mobility.

“These tools and new team members will be invaluable to us as we accelerate our plans for commercial launch,” said JoeBen Bevirt, founder and CEO of Joby Aviation.  “Joby will operate an affordable, quiet and clean transportation service, using the revolutionary all-electric, vertical take-off and landing aircraft it has spent the last decade developing. With a range of up to 150 miles and a top speed of 200 mph, the vehicle and the service has the potential to make a significant difference to the lives of travelers.”

“Advanced air mobility has the potential to be exponentially positive for the environment and future generations.

“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,” says DaraKhosrowshahi, Uber CEO.

Joby expects to launch their aircraft as early as 2023.

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