Joby “Unicorn” Gains Private, Military Backing

Dean Sigler Announcements, Batteries, Electric Powerplants, Fuel Cells, Hydrogen Fuel, Sky Taxis, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

NOTICE: We are publishing this entry despite not being able to download fixed images into the file.  We will have that repaired soon, but want the news to go out in the meantime.  Practice patience in the meantime.  Thank you.  Joby Aviation is one of few “unicorns” in the electric Vertical Take Off and Landing (eVTOL) market, a billion-dollar enterprise.  With funding coming from Toyota, several venture capital investors, Uber and the U. S. Army, Joby seems poised to demonstrate Urban Air Mobility (UAM) in a serious way. In 2011 JoeBen Bevirt, founder of Joby Energy, Joby Aviation, and creator of those knobby-looking tripods you see everywhere, invited Patrick McLaughlin to visit his design studio.  Your editor got to tag …

Wright Electric, ARPA-E, and Life’s Report Card

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If, as the infamous cartoon in the New Yorker proclaimed, “Money is life’s report card,” Jeff Engler’s Wright Electric got a least a B+ for its current semester.  While not as flush with cash as firms like Joby Aviation, eHang, or Volocopter, Wright received significant recognition for its initiative in designing high-efficiency electric motors with a high-frequency inverter and “an aggressive cooling strategy.”  The $647,039 ARPA-E grant will further Wright’s work on the ARPA-E ASCEND Project. ASCEND stands for Aviation-class Synergistically Cooled Electric-motors with iNtegrated Drives, a sure-fire Scrabble winner and pretty tortuous acronym. Phase one of the project takes the team through the detailed design and subcomponent testing for the system.  Phase two will see Wright build and demonstrate …

Rising Above It: How the Automotive Industry is Elevating Urban Air Transport

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Introducing Giles Kirkland Editor’s Note: Today’s guest writer, Giles Kirkland, “… is a passionate car expert and dedicated automotive writer. He always researches on the newest car technologies and willingly tries them out, then sharing his thoughts and expertise with other automotive and technology enthusiasts across the globe. You can find Giles and his ideas at Oponeo and on Twitter.”  Since he lives in England, he tends to spell things like “tyres” differently, but also writes about them with great depth and charm.  Herewith, his introduction to our readers.  We hope to feature his insights in future outings. Many governments, industries and groups push for a “green recovery” from the COVID-19 pandemic or simply make increasing efforts towards reducing the negative impact …

Joby and Uber Elevate Form Partnership

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In a new partnership agreement, Uber Elevate recently added Joby Aviation to its stable of aircraft companies which are to supply craft for its Urban Air Mobility program.  Joby builds electric motors, 12 of which line the wing of NASA’s X-57 Maxwell, with two larger motors for forward thrust when the small units are shut down. This inventory of electric motors on the NASA project gives Joby a certain entrée to interest from the Urban Air Mobility movement, and it’s received that interest from Uber.  Well financed in its own right, Joby has committed to meeting Uber’s desire to have operating sky taxis in the air by 2023, as reported by Andrew J. Hawkins in The Verge. We have written …

SAS 2019 – Gabriel DeVault’s Clean Commute and Electric Adventures

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An electric ultralight developer brought some hopeful notes to the Sustainable Aviation Symposium audience at the University of California Berkeley.  Gabriel DeVault is the powertrain development specialist for ZeroAvia, bringing hydrogen power to regional air commuting.  He does a lot of commuting in his own electric aircraft, showing that one doesn’t need huge investments in aircraft and infrastructure to enjoy green flight. The Paul MacCready Honorary Lecture: Doing More with Less, Right Now! An Aerospace Engineer and EV systems architect, Gabriel was a founding member of Zero Motorcycles, running R&D for the world’s largest and most successful electric motorcycle company.  He now works for ZeroAvia, a firm in Hollister, California working with a hydrogen-powered electric Piper Malibu as the first …

Heaviside – Kittyhawk’s Latest

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Kittyhawk, a bay area firm possessed of wildly creative talent, has crafted the Flyer in 2017, the Cora in 2018, and just announced the Heaviside, a cross-country cruiser named for a physics and electronics genius.  Its predecessors go back further, to the JobyMonarch, a single-seat, eight-motor design that made it to the construction stage.  That aircraft was based on Windward Performance’s Duckhawk sailplane, a high performance machine that made the most of its sleek lines. Joby had several projects going at the time, including an energy-generating kite business that merged with Makani.  Carmel deAmicis does a good job of synthesizing a long series of inventions that help lead to Heaviside.  “After Joby Energy succeeded at creating airborne vessels that could generate energy …

Venture Capitalists Jump on JoeBen’s Bandwagon

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People waste billions of hours sitting on roads worldwide each year. We envision a future where commuting by eVTOL (electric Vertical Takeoff and Landing) is a safer, faster, and cost-competitive alternative to ground transportation. We have spent the last ten years developing the technologies that have made our full-scale technical demonstrator possible and are now ready to build a commercial version of the aircraft. We’re excited to have attracted the backing of leaders in auto manufacturing, data intelligence, and transportation sectors. —Joby Aviation founder and CEO JoeBen Bevirt (Green Car Congress) A Knack for Making and Attracting Money That backing came February 1st in “funding from investors including Intel Capital, Toyota AI Ventures, JetBlue Technology Ventures, and Capricorn Investment Group, a …

What We’re Looking Forward to at AirVenture 2017

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We’re looking forward to seeing progress in electric aircraft, and this year may be an opportunity to see real breakthroughs. Two from Pipistrel Besides its regular lineup of high-quality aircraft, Pipistel will have two Alpha Electro trainers on display in their display area.  This is the first time these aircraft will be seen in America, and they’ll be at the right of AirVenture’s main entrance gate in sites 86 and 87. In the Ultralight Area Mark Beierle will display and fly Bravo, Richard Steeves’ e-Gull.  This red, white and blue gem features a power system made from Zero Motorcycle components and boasts an impressive rate of climb and exceptional short field capabilities. Another ultralight, the EMG-6 developed over the last …

EAS IX: JoeBen Pulls off a Hat Trick

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JoeBen Bevirt, founder and head of Joby Aviation and Joby Motors , is obviously a workaholic, and not only gave a talk at EAS IX, but had an example of his Lotus unpiloted aerial vehicle at the AUVSI (Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International) conference in Atlanta, Georgia on the same weekend. Two weeks before that, his demonstration wing for the LEAPTech program was speeding across the desert at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center (AFRC), Edwards Air Force Base in California. JoeBen told Symposium attendees all about his S2 personal aerial commuter and LEAPTech, a joint development with NASA. Part of the LEAPTech program has included building a truck platform for testing the 18-motor wing.  This is a fascinating bit of engineering …

Powering Imagination in Seattle

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

Seattle’s Museum of Flight on Boeing Field will host a one-day event, Powering Imagination, an electric flight symposium organized by Erik Lindbergh, grandson of Charles and Anne Morrow Lindbergh. Presentations will be held in the William M. Allen Theater at the Museum, starting at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, February 28 and ending at 5:00 p.m.   Admission is free, but RSVP to cwilcox@museumofflight.org to guarantee a seat. Topics include an update on the NASA LEAPTech aircraft being designed and built by Joby Aviation and powered by Joby motors.  This 20-motor (!) aircraft will achieve a high coefficient of lift from the motors that distribute thrust over the entire span. Eric Lindbergh will talk about the Quiet Flight Initiative, a multi-pronged approach to …