ANA, Toyota, Joby to tie up on flying car venture

Courtesy of Joby Aviation
A flying car being developed by U.S. mobility firm Joby Aviation

ANA Holdings Co. and U.S. mobility firm Joby Aviation announced Tuesday that they and Toyota Motor Corp. will start considering a business tie-up in the field of flying cars.

With the entry of Japan’s largest airline, the air transportation network can be expanded to cover trip distances that are inconveniently long by bus or taxi but too short or otherwise impractical for conventional aircraft.

Joby plans to launch a flying car passenger service in the United States in 2024. It was looking for a business partner in Japan with a view to expanding overseas.

Under the partnership, ANA will start a joint flying car venture to carry passengers using the U.S. firm’s electric vertical takeoff and landing vehicles.

Aiming to launch the service in 2025, ANA will provide aviation business know-how, such as flight management technology and pilot training. Toyota is expected to handle ground transportation for users of the new service.

The Yomiuri Shimbun

ANA is believed to have teamed up with Joby in the hope of expanding its customer base by offering more convenient middle-distance transportation in Japan. Joby has developed a five-seat flying car with a maximum cruising distance of about 240 kilometers and a maximum speed of 320 kph.

In 2020, Toyota invested $394 million (about ¥45 billion) in Joby and started joint development of such vehicles. Toyota will provide the U.S. firm with electrification technology it has cultivated in hybrid and electric vehicles as well as know-how on productivity improvement.

Flying cars, which are similar to ultracompact helicopters, are expected to become a next-generation transportation method that requires neither runways nor fossil fuels.

Morgan Stanley of the United States estimates that the global market for flying cars will grow to a size of about $1.5 trillion (about ¥172 trillion) in 2040 from about $7.4 billion (about ¥850 billion) in 2020.

There is no strict definition of flying cars, but companies around the world are developing electrically powered passenger vehicles that can be operated automatically and can take off and land vertically.