Joby Aviation eyes India as a launchpad for its electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) air taxi, driven by the country’s urban congestion and pollution challenges. Founder JoeBen Bevirt envisions India becoming a global leader in this futuristic form of transportation, surpassing other nations.
Fueling this ambition is a recent USD 590 million funding round led by Toyota Motor Company, and India’s booming aviation sector, growing at a staggering 11% annually. Bevirt believes electric air taxis can offer “cheap, high-speed, green transportation” by any current options.
India’s recent push for Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) drone operations unlocks crucial flexibility for air taxi services. Additionally, IndiGo’s parent company, InterGlobe Enterprises, has partnered with Archer Aviation to bring electric air taxis to India by 2026.
The potential benefits are substantial. A journey from Delhi’s Connaught Place to Gurugram, currently taking 60-90 minutes by car, could be completed in just 7 minutes by air taxi. Bengaluru airport commutes could be reduced from 2 hours to 13 minutes during rush hour.
Joby’s air taxi boasts vertical takeoff and quiet operation, unlike noise-polluting helicopters, and Bevirt envisions a seamless booking experience similar to Uber. He estimates a 100-minute time saving per trip, greening cities and optimising land use.
This dream gained momentum with the recent FAA certification of Joby’s propulsion system, a critical step towards regulatory compliance.