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Joby Aviation Acquires Xwing’s Autonomy Division, Adding To Defense Work

Home Articles Joby Aviation Acquires Xwing’s Autonomy Division, Adding To Defense Work

Joby Aviation Acquires Xwing’s Autonomy Division, Adding To Defense Work

By Calvin Biesecker

Joby Aviation, which is developing an electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft as an air taxi service, on Tuesday said it has acquired the autonomy division of Xwing, a small company developing technology for autonomous flight operations that earlier this year flew unmanned dispersed cargo operations in unrestricted space for the Air Force.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Joby is getting about 40 engineers, researchers, and technologies from Xwing’s autonomy division, including Maxime Gariel, the company’s co-founder, president and chief technology officer.

Joby’s primary focus is on developing and flight-testing its eVTOL aircraft to operate as an air taxi service in cities around the world. The company also has $163 million in potential contracts with the Defense Department, and is working with the Air Force on testing logistics missions, personnel transport, casualty evacuation, and security forces support with its eVTOL aircraft.

Beginning in late January, Xwing conducted 22 hours of human-supervised autonomous flights covering 2,800 miles during a week-long demonstration in unrestricted airspace as part of the Air Force’s AGILE FLAG 24-1 exercise.

Xwing used a Cessna 208B Grand Caravan aircraft for the flights, which included take-off and landings at eight public and military airports.

In 2023, Xwing was the first company to receive the Federal Aviation Administration’s designation for the certification of a large unmanned aircraft system and was the first to received an Air Force Military Flight Release ahead of the AGILE FLAG exercise.

In addition to adding autonomy to Joby’s capabilities, the company said the acquisition accelerates existing and future work with DoD.

“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,” JoeBen Bevirt, Joby’s founder and CEO, said in a statement.

Xwing retains two small airlines, Martinaire and Airpac, which operate air charter cargo services.

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