Here Come the Air Taxis

11/01/2023
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    Joby’s prototype aircraft takes flight above the company’s facilities in Marina, California. (Eric Adams/Joby Aviation via AP)
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    Joby will bring air taxi production to a 140-acre site at Dayton International Airport by 2025. (Eric Adams/Joby Aviation via AP)
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    The eVTOL craft has six pivoting propellers. (Eric Adams/Joby Aviation via AP)
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    The eVTOL aircraft can hover and land in small spaces like a helicopter. (Eric Adams/Joby Aviation via AP)
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    Travelers may one day hail an air taxi rather than a car or bus. (Eric Adams/Joby Aviation via AP)
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Need a ride? Soon you may call an air taxi. The same Ohio River valley where the Wright brothers pioneered human flight will produce the cutting-edge aircraft. But they’ll differ from Orville and Wilbur’s 1903 biplane: These vehicles will take off and land vertically.

Around the world, eVTOL (electric vertical takeoff and landing) vehicles are becoming mainstream. These aircraft shuttle passengers from rooftops and parking garages up and over to their destinations. Plus, eVTOL aircraft can hover and land in small spaces, similar to helicopters.

An eVTOL air taxi trip from Manhattan to John F. Kennedy airport in New York City takes about seven minutes. A land taxi ride lasts a grueling 40 to 50 minutes.

“That’s the future,” says Ohio Governor Mike DeWine. Ohio has landed the new Joby eVTOL factory in Dayton.

Dayton, Ohio, seems a natural fit for Joby’s pioneering technology. After all, Orville and Wilbur Wright lived and worked in Dayton. In 1909, they opened the first U.S. airplane factory there.

CEO JoeBen Bevirt says Joby chose Ohio after a wide search. Bringing eVTOL vehicles to the birthplace of aviation sealed the deal.

Joby develops all-electric aircraft for passenger service—a.k.a. air taxis. Several other firms are working on vertical aircraft projects too.

Six electric motors power Joby’s aircraft. Pivoting propeller arms allow for the vertical lift and landing—and then forward motion during flight. The company says the eVTOL up-down feature allows for flexible service to many places. It describes the aircraft as “more like getting into an SUV than boarding a plane.”

Joby’s website says its vehicle can transport a pilot and four passengers at speeds of up to 200 miles per hour. It claims the aircraft is quiet, declaring it barely audible against most city noise. But the eVTOL air taxi isn’t meant for long distances—since it travels only up to 100 miles.

Construction on Joby’s Dayton manufacturing facility could begin in 2024. Production will likely begin the next year. Company officials hope their aerial ridesharing networks will take off beginning in 2025.

Before long, ride seekers could be hailing an air taxi—and enjoying what Joby calls “a faster, cleaner, and smarter way to carry people through their lives.”

Why? God allows humans to invent with technology. But even as human progress reaches mind-blowing advancements, our Creator God stands apart as more awesome.

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