Joby Aviation, a California-based company developing electric vertical take-off and landing vehicles (eVTOL) for commercial passenger services, announced Wednesday the acquisition of Avionyx, an aerospace software engineering firm, at the blog line Sessions: Mobility phase.
The companies have not disclosed the terms of the deal, but Joby did say it was an acquisition, meaning Avionyx’s staff will join Joby. It probably also means that this was a combination of stocks and shares.
The company said that Joby’s piloted five-seat eVTOL aircraft can carry four passengers at speeds of up to 200 miles per hour, with a maximum range of 250 miles on a single charge.
By hiring Avionyx, a company with over 30 years of experience in the aerospace environment that has partnered with Joby since last year, Joby can do what many companies try to do: become vertically integrated.
“We believe [being vertically integrated is] the fastest way to market as we don’t have to worry so much about some supply chain issues. We can think, what are the rules for certifying the pilots? How do you build the simulators?” Bonny Simi, chief of air operations and people at Joby, said on stage Wednesday. “You know, when you certify an aircraft, you must also certify a simulator simultaneously.”
Currently, Joby focuses on vertical integration around aircraft development and certification. The company’s first Systems Review and Compliance Review by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) was approved in March. Still, purchasing Avionyx will help support Joby’s aircraft-type certification program at the agency. Avionyx has worked extensively with the FAA and the European Union Aviation Safety Agency.
Software verification is critical to meeting FAA regulations and standards because it allows engineers to review, analyze and test the software used on the aircraft, Joby said. It also ostensibly helps prevent vehicle accidents, such as the one currently under investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board based on a Joby plane crash in February.
By not relying on third parties, Joby can be more flexible in managing its platform, agile in responding to challenges, and learn to adapt faster, according to the company.
Gary Gysin, CEO of Wisk Aero, another eVTOL company focused on autonomous air operations, disagreed with Simi on stage at TC Sessions: Mobility about the benefits of vertical integration. Market, so it looks like the game is on. However, since Wisk isn’t aiming for pilot rides, Gysin admitted that Joby’s plane would likely take to the skies before Wisk’s. Joby aims to share rides in the air by 2024.
Avionyx’s industry experience will help Joby advance his business at his Vehicle Software Integration Lab in Marina, California, where Joby uses flight and hardware simulators to quickly run thousands of pre-programmed tests to evaluate the performance of his various aircraft. Validate and verify—Software systems. The company said a similar facility would be set up in San Jose, Costa Rica, where Avionyx is from, to accelerate those software verification efforts.
In addition to supporting Joby’s FAA certification program, Avionyx, an AS-9100D certified supplier, will continue supporting the wider aviation community.