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Uber CEO谈押注飞行出租车,有望在2024年实现商业飞行

Uber CEO谈押注飞行出租车,有望在2024年实现商业飞行

Jeremy Kahn, Katherine Dunn 2021年09月21日
按照生产商的设想,飞行出租车将很快与传统出租车和汽车展开竞争,搭载乘客往返于城市中心和机场、邻近城市、周末度假场所等目的地,在道路交通拥挤的时候尤其能够派上用场。

在飞行出租车竞赛中,Joby Aviation是走在前列的竞争者。该类小型飞机使用多个电力驱动的发动机,可以像直升机一样垂直起飞降落,因而有望应用于人口密集的城市交通出行。但一旦升空,这种飞机在飞行方式上会更像传统飞机,它能够搭乘1至4名乘客,可以在一个小时内完成高达150英里(约241.4公里)的行程。按照生产商的设想,飞行出租车将很快与传统出租车和汽车展开竞争,搭载乘客往返于城市中心和机场、邻近城市(费城和纽约相距不到160公里)、周末度假场所等目的地,在道路交通拥挤的时候尤其能够派上用场。

总部位于加州圣克鲁斯的Joby公司自2009年以来一直在研制这种飞机。该公司表示,其采用六旋翼设计的原型机已经进行了远程驾驶飞行测试,有望在2023年获得美国联邦航空管理局(Federal Aviation Authority)的认证,并在2024年之前搭载付费乘客。去年12月,它将共享汽车巨头Uber的飞行出租车部门Uber Elevate收归门下。

2月,Joby宣布计划通过与Reinvent Technology Partners合并在纽约证券交易所(New York Stock Exchange)挂牌上市,Reinvent Technology Partners是投资者、LinkedIn的联合创始人里德·霍夫曼和Zynga的创始人马克·平卡斯共同创建的一家特殊目的收购公司(SPAC)。这笔交易帮助该飞行汽车公司再筹得16亿美元,其估值达到66亿美元。

其中的6.9亿美元来自Reinvent,其余的融资则来自一些知名的私募投资机构,其中包括贝莱德(BlackRock)、富达国际(Fidelity)和苏格兰科技投资巨头Baillie Gifford旗下管理的基金。对冲基金The Baupost Group也参与投资。Uber从出售Elevate给Joby的交易中获得了7500万美元的可转换债券,它也宣布将那些债券转换为股份。对Uber来说,这是明智之举。通过将Elevate卖给Joby,Uber很大程度上甩掉了飞行出租车可能永远不会实现腾飞的风险。但通过低价获得Joby的股权,它也保留了从飞行出租车的潜在成功中获益的机会。

《财富》杂志最近(通过Zoom)对Uber首席执行官达拉·科斯罗萨西以及Joby董事长保罗·夏拉(以Pinterest联合创始人而著称)进行了采访,与他们讨论了Joby以及它的未来。以下是对话摘录(内容经过编辑精简提炼)。

《财富》:达拉,你们把Uber的飞行出租车业务卖给了Joby。你们为什么对和他们合作如此兴奋?

Uber首席执行官达拉·科斯罗萨西:通过Elevate,我们有机会接触到各家在开发飞行出租车的公司。不得不说,Joby在我们看来明显领先于其他人。对于Elevate,我们当初为它制定了一个非常强大的市场进入战略,专门针对大众市场——以大众负担得起的价格吸引大量乘客。Joby则有技术,有飞行汽车,我们认为他们在争取监管认证和安全计划方面远远胜过其他竞争者。我们也认为,将Elevate和Joby结合起来,特别是在这项技术还处于早期迭代的时候,会是一个双赢选择。

《财富》:按照你的预期,这种合作将来会有什么样的商业模式?以后我是不是打开Uber应用程序,就能够预订一辆Joby飞行出租车从曼哈顿飞到汉普顿?

科斯罗萨西:我认为这肯定会是其中一种模式,这就是为什么我们要将Joby的技术与Uber的应用程序服务深度整合。如果你要从曼哈顿中城前往肯尼迪国际机场,你可以选择用Uber打车,同时也能够选择搭乘Joby的飞行汽车,整个行程将用时25分钟,非常安全,非常安静,而且也相当实惠。

Joby董事长保罗·夏拉:在早期与科斯罗萨西洽谈期间,我们感到非常满意的一点是,我们都认为,未来这种包含多种交通出行方式的模式将会变得十分重要。当我们设想我们的服务时,很明显,它是一项基于飞行汽车的服务,能够将把人们送达目的地的时间加快5到10倍,在比地面驾驶更安全的情况下做到这一点,而且随着时间的推移,服务价格可以变得越来越趋近于Uber X。但这确实意味着我们需要将地面交通和这种空中交通方式结合起来,使其无缝连接。

《财富》:将这些不同的交通方式整合到一个平台上,有多容易呢?

科斯罗萨西:这绝对不会容易,这也是Uber对这个问题着迷的原因之一。我们会有公共交通,我们会有公共汽车,我们会有汽车,我们会有出租车,我们会有Joby飞行出租车,我们会有微型交通工具,等等。至于这些不同的交通模式是如何运作的,我们所拥有的相关全局数据比任何其他公司都要多。这将是一个巨大的机器学习问题,也是一个将这些不同类型的交通方式整合起来的机会。但我们认为,我们能够无缝实现这一点。我们将提供一个服务按钮、一个价格等等。

《财富》:什么时候可以实现?

夏拉:我们一直很清楚,我们觉得有办法在2023年年底前获得监管机构的认证,有望在2024年实现商业飞行。我们的策略是,在广泛推出之前,可能先在个别地区深入开展服务。因此,我们将在2024年之后分阶段推出服务,逐个市场循序渐进地推进。

《财富》:达拉,你们已经把Elevate的资产卖给了Joby。但作为Joby上市交易的一部分,你们又把钱投向了飞行出租车。你能不能谈一谈为什么这么做?

科斯罗萨西:我认为,这笔交易并不只是出售Elevate,也包括买入Joby。这是对Joby团队的押注,是对Joby技术的押注。Joby的飞行汽车是为大众普及用途而设计的。而Uber可带来的是让Joby的每辆车能够坐满四个人,提升利用率,从而降低价格,使其成为一款真正的大众市场产品,而不是专属于精英的产品。

《财富》:对于飞行出租车,很多人都有这样的疑问:有谁会坐呢?我想,很多人都会对乘坐一种新型的飞行器进行短途出行感到非常恐惧,毕竟他们现在都是用汽车进行短途出行。

夏拉:对于飞行汽车,我们从一开始就考虑它的经济模式。这促使我们研制出容量更大、速度更快的飞行汽车。我们的产品在地面上的充电时间要短于一些竞争对手,这一切都是为了真正确保我们能够达到一个可行的价格点:开始时是可以负担的,然后随着我们规模的不断扩大,价格逐渐降低。但你说得对,确保人们放心乘坐飞行汽车也确实很重要。这就是获得美国联邦航空管理局的认证很重要的一部分原因。然后,我们还尝试在飞行汽车的设计上尽量考虑周到,使其感觉舒适,让整个体验更像是进出一辆SUV,而不是像爬过一架小飞机的机翼或进入一架直升机那样。哪怕是飞行汽车的噪音问题,也要处理好,让人们坐在里面的时候不必佩戴耳机,这一点决定了人们是感觉像坐在汽车里,还是感觉像坐在某种很陌生的东西里。

《财富》:你的一些竞争对手签署了合作协议,获得了大型航空公司的资金支持。Joby迄今为止未与任何航空公司展开合作。你现在有这样的诉求吗?与航空公司的合作是否有其必然性?

夏拉:我们可以采用的行程类型之一就是机场到市区,这种行程也比较有价值。我们认为,就这类行程而言,Uber是一位非常好的合作伙伴。(但)这并不是说不会有其他合作伙伴。我们将在今年晚些时候宣布我们的目标市场。与此同时,我们也将考虑合适的合作伙伴。所以我们合作的可能是航空公司,也可能是地面起降的基础设施合作伙伴。但这实际上就是把商业运行所需的整套东西整合在一起。

《财富》:达拉,Joby即将上市,你给保罗提过什么建议吗?作为曾经的由风投支持的私营企业,上市后投资者需求也会有所差异,对吗?

科斯罗萨西:昨晚我和保罗刚谈过这件事。归根结底,我认为这是一个关于基本面的问题。保罗和团队打造了一款了不起、安全的交通工具。我认为这就是需求。需求的增长也会带动投资需求。有消费需求,就会有大量的投资。

《财富》:是否存在期望过高的风险?

科斯罗萨西:我认为,短期内必然会出现投资者预期和创业现实之间不匹配的风险。但从长远来看,二者一定会达成一致。我认为Joby是一项长期投资。Joby会找到投资者基础,并且Joby一定会给投资者带来可观的回报。

夏拉:我和达拉谈过执行力方面的问题。这就是我们对下一阶段的思考。确保我们能够完成认证工作;确保我们已经证明了我们具备大规模制造这些飞机的能力;第三点也就是最后一点,我们正在为2024年投入商用做准备。我们每天都在为实现这些目标前赴后继,我认为从长远来看,我们的发展前景看好。

《财富》:Uber和出租车的现有行程数据对Joby有帮助吗?这种需求在哪里?

科斯罗萨西:我们基本上可以绘制出路线的交叉点、路线长度、价格,以及频率,从而基于现实需求的历史数据得出最佳起降点。因此,我们不玩猜谜游戏,Joby就能够以一种最智能的结构与基础设施合作伙伴达成最好的[交易]。

《财富》:Joby会像Uber一样采用动态定价吗?届时飞行员的身份是Joby员工,还是Uber司机一样的独立承包商?

夏拉:我可以肯定地说,飞行员将会是Joby的工作人员。招募和培训专业飞行员对我们来说非常重要。在定价问题上,我认为我们会利用动态定价来保证我们有机会实现高上座率。随着我们对飞行出租车的利用率越来越高,我们就可以把价格降下来。

《财富》:保罗,你能谈谈申请美国联邦航空管理局认证的情况吗?这一过程进展如何?

夏拉:五年前,我们以非正式的方式与美国联邦航空管理局进行了深入对话。近两年来我们一直在走正式认证流程。去年12月我们率先获得了电动垂直起降(eVTOL)行业的航空管理局G1问题纪要。这是我们在部件层面需要的一系列测试蓝图,继而在整机层面证明其安全性以及各类应用。因此,这是一个重要的里程碑,因为之前我们并不清楚有哪些必须的要素。现在的工作就是确保合适的时机,而我们有足够的时间进行测试和处理数据,将结果提交给美国联邦航空管理局,并确保到2023年做好所有的认证准备工作。所以这个过程中没有什么大的未知因素,真正考验我们的是执行力问题。

《财富》:保罗,你打造的是一款全新的飞行器。你们是如何为此开发供应链的?

夏拉:与其他公司相比,我们采取了更加垂直整合的方式,这在很大程度上是必要的。现在电动飞机的许多部件并不一定需要供应链:电池组、高扭矩密度的电动机,以及一些类似的飞机飞行控制系统。所有这些都必须从头开始重新思考。但在我们看来,最终我们会获得一款性能更加优越的交通工具。所以这是值得做的。关于这款飞行器产量的考虑也不同于传统的航空业。比如我们首个制造工厂每年会生产数百家航空器,这个数量就已经高于现在的飞机年产量。因此,我们必须重新考虑这一点,从一开始就亲历亲为地去做更多的工作。

《财富》:Joby是最早开始研究eVTOL的公司之一。但现在这一领域竞争愈发激烈,一些大型航空公司也在研发这类飞行器。这对你们是不是一种威胁,还是说这种现状会推动消费者接受这种新产品?

夏拉:我认为这在很大程度上证明了我们近十年来一直在寻找的市场机会是值得的。所以从这个角度来看,我认为这是一件好事情。我们唯一能够控制的就是我们指定的时间节点的执行情况。我认为,如果我们可以准确执行这些目标,从长远来看,我们将占据有利地位。(财富中文网)

译者:万志文、唐尘

在飞行出租车竞赛中,Joby Aviation是走在前列的竞争者。该类小型飞机使用多个电力驱动的发动机,可以像直升机一样垂直起飞降落,因而有望应用于人口密集的城市交通出行。但一旦升空,这种飞机在飞行方式上会更像传统飞机,它能够搭乘1至4名乘客,可以在一个小时内完成高达150英里(约241.4公里)的行程。按照生产商的设想,飞行出租车将很快与传统出租车和汽车展开竞争,搭载乘客往返于城市中心和机场、邻近城市(费城和纽约相距不到160公里)、周末度假场所等目的地,在道路交通拥挤的时候尤其能够派上用场。

总部位于加州圣克鲁斯的Joby公司自2009年以来一直在研制这种飞机。该公司表示,其采用六旋翼设计的原型机已经进行了远程驾驶飞行测试,有望在2023年获得美国联邦航空管理局(Federal Aviation Authority)的认证,并在2024年之前搭载付费乘客。去年12月,它将共享汽车巨头Uber的飞行出租车部门Uber Elevate收归门下。

2月,Joby宣布计划通过与Reinvent Technology Partners合并在纽约证券交易所(New York Stock Exchange)挂牌上市,Reinvent Technology Partners是投资者、LinkedIn的联合创始人里德·霍夫曼和Zynga的创始人马克·平卡斯共同创建的一家特殊目的收购公司(SPAC)。这笔交易帮助该飞行汽车公司再筹得16亿美元,其估值达到66亿美元。

其中的6.9亿美元来自Reinvent,其余的融资则来自一些知名的私募投资机构,其中包括贝莱德(BlackRock)、富达国际(Fidelity)和苏格兰科技投资巨头Baillie Gifford旗下管理的基金。对冲基金The Baupost Group也参与投资。Uber从出售Elevate给Joby的交易中获得了7500万美元的可转换债券,它也宣布将那些债券转换为股份。对Uber来说,这是明智之举。通过将Elevate卖给Joby,Uber很大程度上甩掉了飞行出租车可能永远不会实现腾飞的风险。但通过低价获得Joby的股权,它也保留了从飞行出租车的潜在成功中获益的机会。

《财富》杂志最近(通过Zoom)对Uber首席执行官达拉·科斯罗萨西以及Joby董事长保罗·夏拉(以Pinterest联合创始人而著称)进行了采访,与他们讨论了Joby以及它的未来。以下是对话摘录(内容经过编辑精简提炼)。

《财富》:达拉,你们把Uber的飞行出租车业务卖给了Joby。你们为什么对和他们合作如此兴奋?

Uber首席执行官达拉·科斯罗萨西:通过Elevate,我们有机会接触到各家在开发飞行出租车的公司。不得不说,Joby在我们看来明显领先于其他人。对于Elevate,我们当初为它制定了一个非常强大的市场进入战略,专门针对大众市场——以大众负担得起的价格吸引大量乘客。Joby则有技术,有飞行汽车,我们认为他们在争取监管认证和安全计划方面远远胜过其他竞争者。我们也认为,将Elevate和Joby结合起来,特别是在这项技术还处于早期迭代的时候,会是一个双赢选择。

《财富》:按照你的预期,这种合作将来会有什么样的商业模式?以后我是不是打开Uber应用程序,就能够预订一辆Joby飞行出租车从曼哈顿飞到汉普顿?

科斯罗萨西:我认为这肯定会是其中一种模式,这就是为什么我们要将Joby的技术与Uber的应用程序服务深度整合。如果你要从曼哈顿中城前往肯尼迪国际机场,你可以选择用Uber打车,同时也能够选择搭乘Joby的飞行汽车,整个行程将用时25分钟,非常安全,非常安静,而且也相当实惠。

Joby董事长保罗·夏拉:在早期与科斯罗萨西洽谈期间,我们感到非常满意的一点是,我们都认为,未来这种包含多种交通出行方式的模式将会变得十分重要。当我们设想我们的服务时,很明显,它是一项基于飞行汽车的服务,能够将把人们送达目的地的时间加快5到10倍,在比地面驾驶更安全的情况下做到这一点,而且随着时间的推移,服务价格可以变得越来越趋近于Uber X。但这确实意味着我们需要将地面交通和这种空中交通方式结合起来,使其无缝连接。

《财富》:将这些不同的交通方式整合到一个平台上,有多容易呢?

科斯罗萨西:这绝对不会容易,这也是Uber对这个问题着迷的原因之一。我们会有公共交通,我们会有公共汽车,我们会有汽车,我们会有出租车,我们会有Joby飞行出租车,我们会有微型交通工具,等等。至于这些不同的交通模式是如何运作的,我们所拥有的相关全局数据比任何其他公司都要多。这将是一个巨大的机器学习问题,也是一个将这些不同类型的交通方式整合起来的机会。但我们认为,我们能够无缝实现这一点。我们将提供一个服务按钮、一个价格等等。

《财富》:什么时候可以实现?

夏拉:我们一直很清楚,我们觉得有办法在2023年年底前获得监管机构的认证,有望在2024年实现商业飞行。我们的策略是,在广泛推出之前,可能先在个别地区深入开展服务。因此,我们将在2024年之后分阶段推出服务,逐个市场循序渐进地推进。

《财富》:达拉,你们已经把Elevate的资产卖给了Joby。但作为Joby上市交易的一部分,你们又把钱投向了飞行出租车。你能不能谈一谈为什么这么做?

科斯罗萨西:我认为,这笔交易并不只是出售Elevate,也包括买入Joby。这是对Joby团队的押注,是对Joby技术的押注。Joby的飞行汽车是为大众普及用途而设计的。而Uber可带来的是让Joby的每辆车能够坐满四个人,提升利用率,从而降低价格,使其成为一款真正的大众市场产品,而不是专属于精英的产品。

《财富》:对于飞行出租车,很多人都有这样的疑问:有谁会坐呢?我想,很多人都会对乘坐一种新型的飞行器进行短途出行感到非常恐惧,毕竟他们现在都是用汽车进行短途出行。

夏拉:对于飞行汽车,我们从一开始就考虑它的经济模式。这促使我们研制出容量更大、速度更快的飞行汽车。我们的产品在地面上的充电时间要短于一些竞争对手,这一切都是为了真正确保我们能够达到一个可行的价格点:开始时是可以负担的,然后随着我们规模的不断扩大,价格逐渐降低。但你说得对,确保人们放心乘坐飞行汽车也确实很重要。这就是获得美国联邦航空管理局的认证很重要的一部分原因。然后,我们还尝试在飞行汽车的设计上尽量考虑周到,使其感觉舒适,让整个体验更像是进出一辆SUV,而不是像爬过一架小飞机的机翼或进入一架直升机那样。哪怕是飞行汽车的噪音问题,也要处理好,让人们坐在里面的时候不必佩戴耳机,这一点决定了人们是感觉像坐在汽车里,还是感觉像坐在某种很陌生的东西里。

《财富》:你的一些竞争对手签署了合作协议,获得了大型航空公司的资金支持。Joby迄今为止未与任何航空公司展开合作。你现在有这样的诉求吗?与航空公司的合作是否有其必然性?

夏拉:我们可以采用的行程类型之一就是机场到市区,这种行程也比较有价值。我们认为,就这类行程而言,Uber是一位非常好的合作伙伴。(但)这并不是说不会有其他合作伙伴。我们将在今年晚些时候宣布我们的目标市场。与此同时,我们也将考虑合适的合作伙伴。所以我们合作的可能是航空公司,也可能是地面起降的基础设施合作伙伴。但这实际上就是把商业运行所需的整套东西整合在一起。

《财富》:达拉,Joby即将上市,你给保罗提过什么建议吗?作为曾经的由风投支持的私营企业,上市后投资者需求也会有所差异,对吗?

科斯罗萨西:昨晚我和保罗刚谈过这件事。归根结底,我认为这是一个关于基本面的问题。保罗和团队打造了一款了不起、安全的交通工具。我认为这就是需求。需求的增长也会带动投资需求。有消费需求,就会有大量的投资。

《财富》:是否存在期望过高的风险?

科斯罗萨西:我认为,短期内必然会出现投资者预期和创业现实之间不匹配的风险。但从长远来看,二者一定会达成一致。我认为Joby是一项长期投资。Joby会找到投资者基础,并且Joby一定会给投资者带来可观的回报。

夏拉:我和达拉谈过执行力方面的问题。这就是我们对下一阶段的思考。确保我们能够完成认证工作;确保我们已经证明了我们具备大规模制造这些飞机的能力;第三点也就是最后一点,我们正在为2024年投入商用做准备。我们每天都在为实现这些目标前赴后继,我认为从长远来看,我们的发展前景看好。

《财富》:Uber和出租车的现有行程数据对Joby有帮助吗?这种需求在哪里?

科斯罗萨西:我们基本上可以绘制出路线的交叉点、路线长度、价格,以及频率,从而基于现实需求的历史数据得出最佳起降点。因此,我们不玩猜谜游戏,Joby就能够以一种最智能的结构与基础设施合作伙伴达成最好的[交易]。

《财富》:Joby会像Uber一样采用动态定价吗?届时飞行员的身份是Joby员工,还是Uber司机一样的独立承包商?

夏拉:我可以肯定地说,飞行员将会是Joby的工作人员。招募和培训专业飞行员对我们来说非常重要。在定价问题上,我认为我们会利用动态定价来保证我们有机会实现高上座率。随着我们对飞行出租车的利用率越来越高,我们就可以把价格降下来。

《财富》:保罗,你能谈谈申请美国联邦航空管理局认证的情况吗?这一过程进展如何?

夏拉:五年前,我们以非正式的方式与美国联邦航空管理局进行了深入对话。近两年来我们一直在走正式认证流程。去年12月我们率先获得了电动垂直起降(eVTOL)行业的航空管理局G1问题纪要。这是我们在部件层面需要的一系列测试蓝图,继而在整机层面证明其安全性以及各类应用。因此,这是一个重要的里程碑,因为之前我们并不清楚有哪些必须的要素。现在的工作就是确保合适的时机,而我们有足够的时间进行测试和处理数据,将结果提交给美国联邦航空管理局,并确保到2023年做好所有的认证准备工作。所以这个过程中没有什么大的未知因素,真正考验我们的是执行力问题。

《财富》:保罗,你打造的是一款全新的飞行器。你们是如何为此开发供应链的?

夏拉:与其他公司相比,我们采取了更加垂直整合的方式,这在很大程度上是必要的。现在电动飞机的许多部件并不一定需要供应链:电池组、高扭矩密度的电动机,以及一些类似的飞机飞行控制系统。所有这些都必须从头开始重新思考。但在我们看来,最终我们会获得一款性能更加优越的交通工具。所以这是值得做的。关于这款飞行器产量的考虑也不同于传统的航空业。比如我们首个制造工厂每年会生产数百家航空器,这个数量就已经高于现在的飞机年产量。因此,我们必须重新考虑这一点,从一开始就亲历亲为地去做更多的工作。

《财富》:Joby是最早开始研究eVTOL的公司之一。但现在这一领域竞争愈发激烈,一些大型航空公司也在研发这类飞行器。这对你们是不是一种威胁,还是说这种现状会推动消费者接受这种新产品?

夏拉:我认为这在很大程度上证明了我们近十年来一直在寻找的市场机会是值得的。所以从这个角度来看,我认为这是一件好事情。我们唯一能够控制的就是我们指定的时间节点的执行情况。我认为,如果我们可以准确执行这些目标,从长远来看,我们将占据有利地位。(财富中文网)

译者:万志文、唐尘

Joby Aviation is among the leading contenders in the race to make flying taxis a reality. These small aircraft use multiple electric-powered engines and take off and land vertically, like a helicopter, giving them potential access to dense urban streetscapes. But once airborne, the craft fly more like airplanes, whisking between one and four passengers on journeys of up to 150 miles in less than an hour. The firms producing them envision they will soon compete with taxis and cars for hops between city centers and destinations such as airports, close cities (Philadelphia to New York is less than 100 miles), or weekend spots, especially in cases when congested road traffic is an issue.

Joby, which is based in Santa Cruz, Calif., has been working on its aircraft since 2009. It says it is on track to have its six-rotor design—prototypes of which it has already tested in remotely piloted flights—certified by the Federal Aviation Authority in 2023 and carrying paying customers by 2024. The company purchased the flying taxi division of ride-sharing giant Uber, Uber Elevate, in December.

Then in February, Joby announced plans to go public on the New York Stock Exchange through a merger with Reinvent Technology Partners, a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) created by investor and LinkedIn cofounder Reid Hoffman and Zynga founder Mark Pincus. The deal raised an additional $1.6 billion for the flying car company and valued it at $6.6 billion.

While $690 million of that money came from Reinvent, the rest comes from a group of high-profile private investors, including funds managed by BlackRock, Fidelity, and Scottish tech investing powerhouse Baillie Gifford. Hedge fund The Baupost Group also put in money. In addition, Uber, which had received a $75 million convertible note as part of the sale of Elevate to Joby, announced it was converting that instrument to shares. For Uber, it was a smart move. By selling Elevate to Joby, Uber off-loaded much of the risk that flying taxis won’t ever, ahem, take off. But by acquiring an equity stake cheaply, it retained exposure to the upside.

I recently sat down (virtually via Zoom) with Uber CEO Dala Khosrowshahi and Joby chairman Paul Sciarra, who is best known as a cofounder of Pinterest, to discuss Joby and its future. What follows is a transcript of that conversation, edited for brevity and clarity.

Fortune:Dala, you sold off Uber’s flying taxi operations to Joby. So why are you so excited about partnering with them?

Dala Khosrowshahi, CEO of Uber:Through Elevate, we had access to all the various players who are developing [flying taxis]. And I've got to say Joby was for us head and shoulders above the rest. What we had built with Elevate was a really strong go-to-market strategy that was built for the mass market—for significant numbers of passengers at an affordable price. And Joby had the tech, they had the vehicle, we thought that they were heads and shoulders above the other players in terms of how developed their certification and safety program was, and we thought bringing these two together [Elevate and Joby], especially in the early iteration of this technology would be the best of both worlds.

Fortune:What do you anticipate the business model for this partnership really looking like? Am I going to pull out my Uber app and be able to book a Joby flying taxi to take me from Manhattan to the Hamptons?

Khosrowshahi:Well, I think that's certainly going to be one of the models and that's why we want to deeply integrate the Joby tech with the Uber availability. If you're going to JFK from Midtown Manhattan, you're going to get the choice of a black car, but you're going to get a choice of a Joby ride as well, which will be 25 minutes, incredibly safe, incredibly quiet, and quite affordable as well.

Paul Sciarra, chairman of Joby:One of the things that we felt really comfortable about in early conversations with Dara is a shared belief that this multimodal future was going to be an important one. And when we think about our service, obviously, it is about the aircraft, getting folks to their destination five to 10 times faster, doing that at greater safety than driving on the ground, and at price points that can become increasingly similar to the cost of Uber X over time. But it does mean that we need to tie together ground transportation and this aerial mode of transportation and make that seamless.

Fortune:How easy is it going to be to integrate those different transportation methods into a single platform?

Khosrowshahi:It's certainly not going to be easy, which is one of the reasons why Uber is attracted to the problem. We’ll have mass transit, we’ll have buses, we’ll have cars, we'll have taxis, we'll have Joby vehicles, we'll have micromobility, etc. And we have more global data than any other player about how these different individual modes work. This is going to be a massive [machine-learning] problem and opportunity to string together these different types of transportation. But we think we can do it in a seamless way. It'll be one push button, one price, etc.

Fortune:What's the time frame for this?

Sciarra:We've been pretty clear that we feel like there's a path to get to certification by the end of 2023, with commercial flights hopefully in 2024. Our approach is going to start probably a little bit deeper in individual geography before going wide. So we'll see a really staged rollout, market by market, after 2024.

Fortune:Dala, you'd sold off the Elevate assets to Joby. But as part of Joby's deal to go public, you've put money back into flying taxis. Can you can you talk a little bit of logic of doing that?

Khosrowshahi:I think that the transaction was a sale of Elevate, but it was also a buy of Joby. This is a bet on the Joby team, it's a bet on the Joby tech. Joby’s aircraft is designed for significant consumer adoption. And what Uber brings to bear is the ability to put four people in each vehicle, really drive utilization up to drive prices down, and to make this not an elite product but really a mass market product.

Fortune:That’s a question a lot of people have about flying taxis: Who's actually going to be using them? I think a lot of people are going to be very trepidatious about getting into a new kind of flying vehicle to take a short journey, the sort of trip they do today in a car.

Sciarra:We started our work, in terms of the aircraft, with an economic model in mind. That drove us to an aircraft that is higher capacity, faster speed; we're spending less time on the ground charging [than some of our competitors], all to really make sure that we could get to a price point that started out affordable and got increasingly affordable as we continued to scale. But you're right, the question of ensuring that people feel comfortable getting into and out of the vehicle is also really important. That's part of the reason why we've always known that getting FAA certification was going to be important. And then I think we also tried to be as thoughtful as we could about the design of the aircraft, to make it feel comfortable, more like getting into and out of an SUV, as opposed to climbing over the wing of a small plane or getting into a helicopter. Even the noise profile of the aircraft, allowing people to sit in it without having to wear headphones, was really supposed to be more like a touchstone of sitting in a car versus something that felt really foreign.

Fortune:Some of your competitors have signed partnership deals and won financial backing from major airlines. Joby has not so far. Are you looking for an airline partner? Is that a necessary component to make this work?

Sciarra:Certainly one of the trip types that we can use and can be valuable is airports to downtowns. We certainly feel like Uber is a great partner for a lot of these trips. [But] that's not to say that there won't be other partners. We'll make the announcement later this year about the launch markets that we're going to be targeting. And as we do that, we'll be thinking about what are the right partners. So maybe there are airlines, maybe there are infrastructure partners for takeoff and landing locations on the ground. But it's really about putting together that whole suite of the things that are going to be necessary for the right commercial launch.

Fortune:Dala, have you given Paul any advice now that Joby is going to be a public company? Being public comes with different sort of investor demands than being a private, venture-backed business, doesn’t it?

Khosrowshahi:You know Paul and I just spoke about this last night. Ultimately, it's about fundamentals, I think. Paul and the team built a great vehicle, a safe vehicle. I think the demand is going to be there. And with the demand, there'll be plenty of investment demand as well. With consumer demand they'll be plenty of investment.

Fortune: Is there a danger of expectations running too high?

Khosrowshahi:I think there's always a danger of a short-term mismatch between investor expectations, and let's say the reality of building a business. But I think long term, the two come together. And I think the Joby bet is a long-term bet. Joby will find an investor base, who I think, if they hold, will be very, very happy.

Sciarra:The conversation that Dala and I had was really about execution. And that's really how we think about the next phase of this. Making sure that we get the certification work done. Making sure that we've demonstrated we're able to manufacture these aircraft at scale, and third and finally showing that we're preparing ourselves for commercial launches in 2024. And we put one foot in front of the other on each of those areas every day, I think we'll be in good stead over the long run.

Fortune:Does it help Joby to have data about existing journeys in Ubers and in taxis and where that kind of demand is?

Khosrowshahi:We can map out essentially the intersection of routes, length of routes, price of those routes, and frequency of routes to come up with essentially the optimal land-off and takeoff points based on real-world demand that we've seen historically. So that we take the guessing game away and Joby can make the best [deals] with infrastructure partners in a way that's just structurally smarter than anyone else.

Fortune:Is Joby going to use dynamic pricing, like Uber? And are the pilots going to be Joby staff members or will they be independent contractors, like Uber’s drivers?

Sciarra:Well, I can certainly say that the pilots will be staff members of Joby. It's going to be really important for us, recruiting and training professional pilots who will operate the aircraft. On the question of pricing, I do think we'll take advantage of dynamic pricing, to ensure that we have an opportunity to fill as many seats as possible, because that's a win. As we get more utilization of every vehicle, we're able to bring down the prices.

Fortune:Paul, can you talk a little bit about trying to get the FAA to certify the aircraft and how that process is going?

Sciarra:We have had pretty deep conversations with the FAA going back five years on an informal basis. We've been in a formal certification process for the last two. We got this G1 issue paper from the FAA in December of last year, which was a first in the eVTOL (electric vertical take off and landing) industry. This is the blueprint for the set of tests that we need at the component level and then at the vehicle level, to prove the safety of the aircraft, and again, types of applications. So that was a big milestone because it was unclear about exactly what would be required before. Now really the work is making sure that things are showing up at the right time and we have enough time to do the testing, enough time to crunch the data, present it back to the FAA, and ensure that everything lines up for certification in 2023. So there are not big unknowns in that process, it really shifts to being an execution challenge.

Fortune:Paul, you’re building completely new types of aircraft. How have you managed to develop a supply chain for this?

Sciarra:We've taken a far more vertically integrated approach than many other companies out there, and that was largely by necessity. There wasn't necessarily a supply chain to go to today for lots of the components that make an electric aircraft work. So battery packs, high torque density electric motors, some of the flight control systems for an aircraft like this. All of those really had to be sort of rethought from the ground up. But the end result is in our view a far better performing vehicle. So it's worth doing. When we think about the volumes of production, it's also very different than traditional aerospace. When we're thinking about hundreds of aircraft, per year, for our first production facility, it's already at the high end of almost any aircraft that's produced today. So by necessity, we really think that we've got to rethink that and do more of that work ourselves, from the beginning.

Fortune:Joby was one of the first companies to start working on eVTOLs. But now it is becoming a crowded space, with some of the major aerospace companies working on these kind of aircraft. Is that a threat or does it help drive consumer adoption?

Sciarra:I take it largely as this validation that the market opportunity we've been after for almost a decade now is a worthwhile one. So from that perspective, I think it's a good thing. The only thing that we can control is the execution of the milestones that we set out. And I think if we do that right, we'll be in a good position over the long term.

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