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Joby Aviation showcases its air taxis in Dubai

Bonny Simi, president of operations at Joby Aviation. (Joby)

On Friday 10 May, Joby Aviation unveiled its air taxi to members of the press. During the event, Joby leadership showcased the taxi model and a simulation of the aircraft

Bonny Simi, who is the president of operations at Joby Aviation, spoke to Technical Review Middle East during the event. She discussed the potential of electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft to revolutionise transportation. She later discussed the progress of electric aircraft technology, including testing and certification challenges, the importance of educating people about the technology, and the timeline for the aircraft's introduction.

Talking about the company’s relationship with Dubai’s Roads and Transportation Authority (RTA), Simi said, “The government of Dubai has been very interested in eVOTLs for years. RTA decided to take the lead on it and have been investigating the entire industry for five years.

“So our arrangement with RTA is exclusive for air taxis for six years from the time we launched, which we're expecting to be 2025 or 2026. Our initial nodes where we will be taking off and landing will be from Dubai International Airport into Dubai Marina Palm Jumeirah, and in Downtown Dubai.”

B2B services

“Obviously our focus is on transportation for the public. But we're also very interested in B2B opportunities. We’re thinking about companies that have campuses or offices in disparate parts of the city or perhaps even in Abu Dhabi. We've also signed some agreements in Abu Dhabi and we see this as an excellent opportunity for inter-emirate travel.

“This could include going from one business campus to another, which we see as a great possibility and an opportunity for multinationals who really need to get people from one end of town to the other quickly and just can't spend an hour and a half in traffic both ways.”

The aircraft is fully electric [run on batteries], which means that it will not be dependent on fuel pricing.

“This market is amazing,” said Simi, explaining that the region is “willing to lean in and be very embracing of new technologies.”

Talking about traffic and congestion, Simi added, “I think the government sees it as a solution for traffic congestion. Because as the city grows, congestion gets worse for everybody. So there's a high willingness to adopt this type of technology and eagerness.”