Recently, Toyota invested $349 million in a flying taxis business venture with startup Joby Aviation. The Santa Cruz-based company is looking to manufacture electric air taxis that transport passengers over gridlocked highways and city streets. Toyota’s recent investment in Joby Aviation brings the startup’s total investment to $720 million,  making it the top-funded electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) company in a thriving sub-industry where the company must meet major aviation regulations and address matters of passenger safety and noise.
“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 President and Chief Executive Officer 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.” 
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Even though Joby hasn’t released technological information on its eVTOL project, its toy-like aircraft purportedly has six rotors, five seats, and an inclusive cockpit. Joby says the flying taxi reaches a speed of up to 200 mph, can fly at a maximum of 150 miles on a single charge, and hold a total of five passengers.
Toyota invested $349 million in flying taxis as part of Joby’s Series C funding, which also includes companies such as Baillie Gifford, Global Oryx, Capricorn Investment Group, JetBlue Technology Ventures, and SPARX Group. Since last year, the 82-year-old Japanese auto manufacturer has continuously pursued futuristic transportation technologies by funding Silicon Valley autonomous vehicle systems maker Recogni Inc. Earlier this month, Toyota announced they are in the process of building a 175-acre community named “Woven City” at the base of Mount Fuji to act as an exhibit for self-driving cars and other innovations in transportation. 
Founded in 2009 by JoeBen Bevirt, Joby Aviation is an aerospace company that has performed sub-scale testing on its aircraft prototypes and has worked on projects with NASA, such as LEAPTech and X-57 Maxwell.  The startup is currently in the process of attaining FAA certification along with the commercialization of its eVTOL flying taxi.
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