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Joby Acquires Xwing Autonomy Division, Looks Ahead to Autonomous Flight

Joby Aviation has acquired Xwing Inc.'s autonomy division, a renowned developer of autonomous aviation technology, as part of its effort to further enhance the development of electric air taxis for commercial passenger service.

Xwing, established in 2016, has been conducting autonomous flights since 2020, utilizing its in-house developed Superpilot software. This software facilitates safe uncrewed operations, supervised from the ground, allowing for fully autonomous gate-to-gate flights. With over 250 fully autonomous flights and more than 500 auto-landings completed, Xwing achieved the distinction of being the first company to receive an official project designation for the certification of a large unmanned aerial system (UAS) from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in April 2023 and the first to obtain an Air Force Military Flight Release in 2024.

The acquisition positions Joby at the forefront of aviation autonomy and complements the company's previous acquisition of Inras GmbH in 2021, a company specializing in lightweight, high-performance radar sensor technology. Xwing's 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. This technology is anticipated to play a crucial role in accelerating the execution of existing contract deliverables with the U.S. Department of Defence and expanding potential future contracts.

Joe Ben Bevirt, Founder and CEO of Joby, expressed his appreciation for the Xwing team's accomplishments and their technological advancements in aviation autonomy. He mentioned that while the aircraft being certified will have a fully qualified pilot on board, the company recognizes the importance of future autonomous aircraft in realizing its vision of making clean and affordable aerial mobility more accessible.

A diverse group of Xwing's engineers, researchers, and technologists will now be integrated into Joby, focusing on enhancing automation and autonomy for Joby's aircraft while also seeking to collaborate with the Department of Defence on technology development opportunities.

Maxime Gariel, co-founder, President, and Chief Technical Officer of Xwing, emphasized the alignment of Xwing's goal of connecting communities with clean and affordable autonomous flight with Joby's long-term vision. He expressed pride in the Xwing team's achievements and perceived the acquisition as a perfect opportunity for their shared vision to be realized.

Xwing's autonomous flights were conducted using a Cessna 208B Grand Caravan aircraft, allowing the team to focus on various areas such as vision system processing, detect and avoid algorithms, mission management, decision making, ground control stations, remote operations, and the integration of AI and machine learning algorithms.

Moreover, the aircraft participated in the Air Force's Agile Flag 24-1 Joint Force exercise in early 2024, completing daily flights covering approximately 2,800 miles and landing at eight public and military airports, showcasing the ability to integrate autonomous aircraft into the national airspace system.

"This technology has the potential to provide substantial advantages to the Air Force," said Col. Elliott Leigh, AFWERX director and chief commercialization officer for the Department of the Air Force. "We created Autonomy Prime to keep up with this shift and evolve with the private sector, ensuring our continued competitive advantage."

The acquisition encompasses all of Xwing’s existing automation and autonomy technology activities and was completed using Joby shares. The specific terms of the deal were not disclosed.



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