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Instead of focusing on the road, the automaker is looking at a new runway, literally.
Toyota is collaborating with Joby Aviation, an aerospace company that is developing and commercializing all-electric aircraft.
The four-passenger aircraft takes off and lands vertically like a helicopter. The all-electric powertrain allows for quiet flight that can travel 150 miles on a single charge.
Toyota sees it as a market with long-term potential.
“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 endeavor, we hope to deliver freedom of movement and enjoyment to customers everywhere, on land, and now, in the sky.”
In addition to investing $394 million in Joby, Toyota will share its expertise in manufacturing, quality and cost controls for the development and production of Joby's breakthrough aircraft.
More details of the prototype aircraft and production plans will be announced at a later date.