Electric air taxi developers Joby Aviation have bought a stake in an autonomous technology company.

Joby founder and CEO JoeBen Bevirt said the stake covers all existing automation and autonomy technology activities at Xwing, a company which has been flying autonomous aircraft since 2020 using its Superpilot software, and was bought for an undisclosed sum.

To date, Xwing has successfully operated 250 fully autonomous flights and more than 500 auto-landings.

The acquisition brings Joby to the forefront of aviation autonomy and complements the company’s 2021 acquisition of Inras GmbH, a company developing lightweight, high-performance radar sensor technology.

Xwing’s comprehensive approach, and expertise in perception technology, system integration and certification, is expected to benefit both near-term piloted operations for Joby as well as fully autonomous operations in the future.

Bevirt said the technology is expected to play an important role in accelerating the execution of existing contract deliverables with the US Department of Defense and expanding the potential for future contracts.

He added: “The aircraft we are certifying will have a fully-qualified pilot on board, but we recognize that a future generation of autonomous aircraft will play an important part in unlocking our vision of making clean and affordable aerial mobility as accessible as possible.

“The exceptionally talented Xwing team has not only made unparalleled progress on the development and certification of vision systems, sensor fusion and decision-making autonomous technologies, but they’ve also successfully demonstrated the real-life application of their technology, flying hundreds of fully autonomous flights in the national airspace.

“We’re honored to bring them onboard at Joby as we continue on our mission of building a next generation aviation company.”

A diverse set of engineers, researchers and technologists from Xwing will now be integrated into Joby where they will focus on the increased automation and autonomy roadmap for the Joby aircraft as well as expanding opportunities to partner with the Department of Defense on technology development.

Xwing co-founder, president and chief technical officer Maxime Gariel said: “Xwing’s goal of connecting communities with clean and affordable autonomous flight aligns closely with Joby’s long-term vision.

“I am incredibly proud of each member of the Xwing team and everything this talented group has achieved to date. For the past 7 years, our team has broken barriers to advance aviation autonomy. Now, as we join forces with the leading electric air-taxi developer, I can’t imagine a better home for the Xwing team to realise our shared vision.”Subscribe to the FINN weekly newsletter

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