Joby Aviation is joining all of those other tech companies attempting to put a flying taxi in the skies, only this particular electric VTOL craft might have a little distance on its rivals. The company’s electric vertical take-off and landing taxi has just successfully competed its first 240km (150 mile) test flight.
Good job, Joby Aviation
There are a few things that you need to know about Joby’s flight though. It’s thought to be the longest electric VTOL flight achieved, using a full-sized prototype of the proposed six-rotor flying taxi design. The 240km distance was covered in an hour and seventeen minutes (so 77 minutes in total), giving us an average speed of just under 190km/h.
Now that we’ve finished using our Grade 6 math skills, here’s what that means: Not much, right now. The unmanned flight saw the craft circling a predefined area in laps, because you don’t perform aircraft tests over crowded cities. That’s just silly. But it is a step in the direction towards having actual flying taxis in our skies one of these days.
This test was just to show the potential range of one of these craft and 240km… sounds far enough to get us to the office and back a few times. Next up is scaling the tech up a little higher than just a five-seat aircraft, while still retaining its battery-powered nature, but Joby Aviation has Toyota’s backing (and some $1.6 billion in other finance) to work with so far. Weirdly, this isn’t Toyota’s only flying taxi project — it was also involved in SkyDrive’s recent, smaller, manned test flight.