Santa Cruz, California-based Joby Aviation has announced a partnership with REEF Technology and Neighborhood Property Group (NPG) to assist in developing infrastructure for Joby’s aerial rideshare service.
Specifically, the partnership will allow Joby to access REEF’s existing network of parking garages, which according to REEF reach more than 70 percent of the American public. Joby — which intends to operate as well as manufacture its eVTOL aircraft — plans to use the rooftops of these structures as take-off and landing areas.
The announced deal also gives Joby a period of exclusivity for acquiring longer-term leases on skyport sites within REEF’s and NPG’s networks.
This announcement follows Joby’s December 2020 acquisition of Uber Elevate and its accumulated data and models for aerial ridesharing in congested metropolitan areas. In addition to REEF’s infrastructure, Joby claims it will be able to access over 5,000 existing heliports and regional airports across the U.S. for its rideshare service, which it intends to launch in 2024.
Uber will also continue to play a role in the rideshare network, providing last-mile transit to customers to and from vertiports, depending on their destination.
Joby’s partnership with REEF and NPG will initially focus on New York, Los Angeles, Miami, and San Francisco. As reflected in investor material associated with its planned merger with Reinvent Technology Partners, Joby has already begun to identify specific route networks in each of those cities for the rideshare system, just like a transit map for a subway. The company claims this model will be five times faster than driving in these environments, at an expected launch cost of $3 per seat mile.
Joby is citing the proximity of parking garages to city centers and their pre-existing infrastructure, among other features, as drivers for the infrastructure partnership, which it says will help its service expand into areas that better serve the needs of users.
“Parking structures are ideal locations for us as they allow us to deliver our customers as close to their destination as possible, while minimizing any local impact and reducing the need for building new infrastructure,” said JoeBen Bevirt, Joby’s founder and CEO.