Electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) developer Joby Aviation has merged with Reinvent Technology Partners, as the conclusion of a $1.6 billion special purpose acquisition company deal (SPAC). The combined company will retain the name Joby Aviation and become publicly traded with its stock listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

With more than 1,000 test flights completed over the last 10 years, Joby Aviation is a recognised leader in the aerial ridesharing industry. Its piloted, four-passenger, emissions-free aircraft can travel up to 150 miles at speeds up to 200 miles per hour.

In 2020, the Joby became the first to agree to a certification basis for an eVTOL aircraft with the US Federal Aviation Administration and in the same year received the US Air Force’s first ever airworthiness approval for an eVTOL aircraft.

Joby plans to launch commercial operations in the United States in 2024, before scaling its service globally. The proceeds from the deal are expected to fund the business through the start of commercial operations, including certification of the aircraft and development of manufacturing facilities.

The US market opportunity for aerial mobility has been estimated at $500+ billion, while the global market is expected to exceed $1 trillion.

In 2020, Toyota Motor Corporation led Joby’s $620 million Series C round funding, forming a strategic partnership that sees Toyota engineers working with Joby on projects including factory layout and manufacturing process development. As an early output of this, construction is expected to begin on a 450,000 square foot manufacturing facility, designed in conjunction with Toyota, later this year.

Joby also recently finalized the terms of an agreement with Uber, under which the two companies will integrate their respective services into each other’s apps, enabling future customers to enjoy seamless multi-modal travel. Joby also acquired Uber Elevate, a division of Uber focused on the aerial ridesharing market.

JoeBen Bevirt, Founder and CEO of Joby Aviation, said, “Our long-term vision is to build a global passenger service, helping a billion people to save an hour every day, while contributing to the protection of our precious planet. Today’s transaction lets us look ahead to the next decade and provides us with the resources we need to bring our vision to life.”

Paul Sciarra, Executive Chairman of Joby Aviation, said, “By rethinking how air travel is delivered, we can open up new ways of moving around congested cities and under-served rural communities, helping to tackle congestion and climate change at the same time. Aerial ridesharing will drive a generational shift in how we travel this century, just as the railroad and the jet aircraft did in previous centuries.”

Reid Hoffman, LinkedIn Co-Founder and Co-Lead Director of Reinvent Technology Partners, who will join the combined company Board of Directors, said, “Reinvent invests in world-class founders and teams who are developing industry-leading products and services that have the potential to impact millions of lives. In Joby we see a remarkable founder-led team that has quietly delivered the most advanced technology we’ve seen in this sector.

“Through our venture capital at scale approach, we are committed to Joby’s long-term success as it continues on its journey to revolutionize commutes and drive decades of innovation in human movement.”