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Joby Aviation is a California-based startup that recently delivered its inaugural electric air taxi to the Air Force, the first delivery of its kind in the United States.
The Joby aircraft is battery-powered and has six rotors, it can take off and land vertically like a helicopter but rotate its propellers to fly like an airplane. The aircraft will have a range of 160 km with a top speed of about 320 kph and can transport four passengers alongside a pilot.
According to Breaking Defense, the aircraft was delivered six months ahead of schedule and was developed through the Air Force’s Agility Prime program, through which Agility Prime is partnering with numerous industry players to mature electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) technology.
The company and the Defense Department state that dual uses for new eVTOL aircraft (both civil and military applications) could help revolutionize aviation that’s currently relying heavily on gas-powered propulsion and therefore greatly contributing to carbon emissions.
Experts state that the eVTOL market is rapidly growing and could be valued at over $22 billion in 2030, meaning the Air Force could in the future have a large, commercially driven technology base to draw from. As part of the partnership with the Air Force, NASA will also experiment with the Joby aircraft for other domestic uses, which will focus in part on autonomy and is envisioned to fulfill a range of missions like cargo and passenger transport, according to the Joby release.
This information was provided by Breaking Defense.