Joby has only built two prototype vehicles and wouldn’t share with TechCrunch how many it intends to build and deploy for its initial launch. Additionally, the Part 135 Air Carrier Certificate received this week is only one of three FAA certifications the company will need to actually operate its eVTOLs as air taxis across the United States — the other two are a Type Certificate and a Production Certificate.
“The procedures we’ve prepared lay a foundation for our future eVTOL operations,” said Bonny Simi, head of air operations and people at Joby and one of the company’s FAA-approved pilots, said in a statement. “Over the coming months, we will use our Part 135 certificate to exercise the operations and customer technology platforms that will underpin our multi-modal ride-sharing service, while also refining our procedures to ensure safe and seamless journeys for our customers.”
In other words, Joby will start testing out the back end technology needed to operate what will be an Uber-like ride-hail service in the sky, a company spokesperson told TechCrunch. For example, Joby has been building tech that shows pilots where their next ride will come from, similar to how Uber drivers can see who they’ll be picking up next. Once the consumer app is developed, Joby will start testing it out with employees, a spokesperson told TechCrunch, noting that the company will likely run a customer pilot after that.
Joby would not disclose what test routes it intends to fly on, but the company is currently flying an employee shuttle between San Jose and Marina, California.
Initially, Joby will rely on existing infrastructure and underutilized assets like parking garages and helipads for docking air taxis while it works to build out a network of vertiports alongside partners.
Joby is also working with Macquarie Capital, an infrastructure asset manager; Signature Aviation, a provider of on-airport private landing sites; and Related Companies, New York City’s largest landlord, to develop vertiports in advance of a commercial launch.