Toyota is exploring alternative transportation methods by investing $394 million (£302 million) in aerospace company Joby Aviation.
As well as the investment, Toyota will also offer its expertise in manufacturing, quality and cost control to develop an electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft – or eVTOL, for short.
The vehicle aims at delivering “fast, quiet and affordable air transportations”, says Toyota, although little is currently released about the project.
Akio Toyoda, president and CEO of the Toyota Motor Corporation, said: “Air transportation has been a long-term goal for Toyota, and while we continue our work in the automobile business, this agreement sets our sights on the sky.
“As we take up the challenge of air transportation with Joby, an innovator in the emerging eVTOL space, we tap the potential to revolutionise future transportation and people’s lives. Through this new and exciting endeavour, we hope to deliver freedom of movement and enjoyment to customers everywhere, on land, and now in the sky.”
Toyota is the lead investor in Joby Aviation’s $590 million (£452 million) Series C financing. The Californian company was founded in 2009 and developed a four-passenger aircraft that can fly up to 200mph.
JoeBen Bevrit, founder and CEO of Joby Aviation, said: “This collaboration with Toyota represents an unprecedented commitment of money and resources for us for this new industry, from one of the world’s leading automakers.”