Joby Aviation Suffers First Flying Taxi Crash

Despite the ongoing pandemic, tech and aviation partnerships are still charging forward to bring air taxis into reality. Joby Aviation has recently made a name for themselves after leading the efforts in developing zero emissions eVTOLs. Unfortunately, with great reward comes great risk, and this week Joby suffered a major setback when their experimental aircraft was involved in a crash.

According to TechCrunch, the incident involved a Joby prototype that was being remotely piloted during flight testing at Joby’s test base in California. Apparently, remote piloting is a normal procedure as the Federal Aviation Administration requires aircraft to be uncrewed during any early testing phases. Luckily, due to this requirement, there were no injuries as a result of the crash.

However, the aircraft did sustain considerable damage and the accident is now being investigated by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). The NTSB investigates and reports on everything from aviation accidents to ship incidents and even bridge failures.

Before this setback, Joby was targeting a 2024 Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certification, with the hopes of service entry in the same year. Founded in only 2019, Joby took the air taxi industry by storm, quickly growing their company to over 700 employees and even acquiring the Uber Elevate program in December of 2020. Joby has also notably teamed up with Toyota, who has invested over $400 million in the Joby program.

Joby Aviation shared the following statement shortly after the crash,

“Safety is a core value for Joby, which is why we have been expanding our flight envelope with a remote pilot and in an uninhabited area, especially as we operate outside expected operating conditions. Experimental flight test programs are intentionally designed to determine the limits of aircraft performance, and accidents are unfortunately a possibility. We will be supporting the relevant authorities in investigating the accident thoroughly.”