The United States Air Force has taken delivery of its first “air taxi” — an electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft. NASA plans to test it to see how it fits into the country’s air transportation systems.
California-based Joby Aerospace on Monday announced the delivery of their “air taxi” — an electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft—to the United States Air Force. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has an agreement with the Air Force’s AFWERX program to test how such vehicles could fit into the country’s air space.
AFWERX is a Technology Directorate of the US Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) and the innovation arm of the country’s Air Force. NASA and AFWERX have an important, active collaboration on Advanced Air Mobility. This collaboration puts the best talent with the latest resources in the same place to accelerate the future of this industry,” said Parimal Kopardekar, integration manager for NASA’s Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) mission, in a press statement.
NASA pilots and researchers will work on testing the Joby aircraft, focusing on air traffic management, flight procedures and ground-based infrastructure starting in 2024. The space agency will se its pilots and advanced hardware, like its Mobile Operating Facility, a kind of research lab on wheels, to test the airplane. The eventual goal is to develop a blueprint for how different air transportation systems of the future will fit together.
The most immediate use cases for these eVTOL aircraft will be for emergency responses—like fighting wildfires and delivering medical supplies. NASA hopes to work on and mature these technologies to push forward the whole air taxi and drone industry.