Founded in 2009, Joby Aviation is a venture-backed startup aerospace company is located in Santa Cruz and San Carlos, California (USA), that is developing and will manufacture piloted all-electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft for fast, quiet, and affordable air taxi services. As of January 2020, the company has reported they have around 400 employees and their website shows a long list of job openings.
The Joby Aviation Lotus was designed in partnership with NASA to demonstrate that a Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL) aircraft would be able to achieve a 24-hour flight endurance. A subscale demonstrator was built but never flown.
The Lotus was a vectored thrust tricopter with a fixed wing and three propellers. The twin blade wing-tip propellers would fold outward in cruise mode, adding lift to the wing. The tail propeller, mounted atop the rudder, would tilt forward to become a tractor prop for powered cruising. The model was electric with a 4.5 kg battery capable of 2.98 kWs of power, although a full size version would have been hybrid-electric. The demonstrator was 24.9 kg with a 3.35 m wingspan and capable of a 3.2 kg payload. Cruise speed was 114.8 km/h and cruise altitude was 3,048 m. The demonstrator was to be capable of more than an hour’s flight time.
Had a full sized Lotus drone been developed it would have been roughly twice the size, five times the weight with a 27.2 kg payload and capable of over 24 hours of flight.
In May 2018, the Vertical Flight Society presented Joby Aviation’s CEO, JoeBen Bevirt, its Paul E. Haueter Award, given for an outstanding technical contribution to the field of VTOL aircraft development other than a helicopter or an operational vertical flight aircraft, for all of the company's eVTOL work to date, including successfully demonstrating the world’s first high-speed multi-passenger electric VTOL aircraft, the Joby S4. Joby Avation also developed the Joby S2 and Monarch concepts prior to the demonstration of the S4.
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