Toyota, the world’s largest car maker, recently invested £301m in California-based Joby Aviation, which is working on an electric Vertical Takeoff and Landing (eVTOL) air taxi

With the investment made, Toyota is now the lead investor in the project.

“Air transportation has been a long-term goal for Toyota, and while we continue our work in the automobile business, this agreement sets our sights to the sky,” said Toyota Motor Corporation President and CEO Akio Toyoda.

“As we take up the challenge of air transportation together with Joby, an innovator in the emerging eVTOL space, we tap the potential to revolutionize future transportation and life.

“Through this new and exciting endeavour, we hope to deliver freedom of movement and enjoyment to customers everywhere on land and now in the sky.”

As the lead investor, Toyota will share its expertise in manufacturing, quality and cost control for the development and production of Joby Aviation’s eVTOL aircraft.

The aircraft is a piloted, five-seat vehicle capable of both vertical takeoff and landing and highly efficient, wing-borne forward flight.

It is intended to be capable of speeds of around 170kt, flying over 150 miles on a single charge.

The aircraft is claimed to be 100 times quieter than conventional aircraft during takeoff and landing, and near-silent when flying overhead.

Joby’s target is to enter service in 2023, and the company is working with the FAA and transport company Uber on airworthiness regulations.

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