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Uber CEO談押注飛行出租車,有望在2024年實現商業飛行

Uber CEO談押注飛行出租車,有望在2024年實現商業飛行

Jeremy Kahn, Katherine Dunn 2021年09月21日
按照生產商的設想,飛行出租車將很快與傳統出租車和汽車展開競爭,搭載乘客往返于城市中心和機場、鄰近城市、周末度假場所等目的地,在道路交通擁擠的時候尤其能夠派上用場。

在飛行出租車競賽中,Joby Aviation是走在前列的競爭者。該類小型飛機使用多個電力驅動的發動機,可以像直升機一樣垂直起飛降落,因而有望應用于人口密集的城市交通出行。但一旦升空,這種飛機在飛行方式上會更像傳統飛機,它能夠搭乘1至4名乘客,可以在一個小時內完成高達150英里(約241.4公里)的行程。按照生產商的設想,飛行出租車將很快與傳統出租車和汽車展開競爭,搭載乘客往返于城市中心和機場、鄰近城市(費城和紐約相距不到160公里)、周末度假場所等目的地,在道路交通擁擠的時候尤其能夠派上用場。

總部位于加州圣克魯斯的Joby公司自2009年以來一直在研制這種飛機。該公司表示,其采用六旋翼設計的原型機已經進行了遠程駕駛飛行測試,有望在2023年獲得美國聯邦航空管理局(Federal Aviation Authority)的認證,并在2024年之前搭載付費乘客。去年12月,它將共享汽車巨頭Uber的飛行出租車部門Uber Elevate收歸門下。

2月,Joby宣布計劃通過與Reinvent Technology Partners合并在紐約證券交易所(New York Stock Exchange)掛牌上市,Reinvent Technology Partners是投資者、LinkedIn的聯合創始人里德·霍夫曼和Zynga的創始人馬克·平卡斯共同創建的一家特殊目的收購公司(SPAC)。這筆交易幫助該飛行汽車公司再籌得16億美元,其估值達到66億美元。

其中的6.9億美元來自Reinvent,其余的融資則來自一些知名的私募投資機構,其中包括貝萊德(BlackRock)、富達國際(Fidelity)和蘇格蘭科技投資巨頭Baillie Gifford旗下管理的基金。對沖基金The Baupost Group也參與投資。Uber從出售Elevate給Joby的交易中獲得了7500萬美元的可轉換債券,它也宣布將那些債券轉換為股份。對Uber來說,這是明智之舉。通過將Elevate賣給Joby,Uber很大程度上甩掉了飛行出租車可能永遠不會實現騰飛的風險。但通過低價獲得Joby的股權,它也保留了從飛行出租車的潛在成功中獲益的機會。

《財富》雜志最近(通過Zoom)對Uber首席執行官達拉·科斯羅薩西以及Joby董事長保羅·夏拉(以Pinterest聯合創始人而著稱)進行了采訪,與他們討論了Joby以及它的未來。以下是對話摘錄(內容經過編輯精簡提煉)。

《財富》:達拉,你們把Uber的飛行出租車業務賣給了Joby。你們為什么對和他們合作如此興奮?

Uber首席執行官達拉·科斯羅薩西:通過Elevate,我們有機會接觸到各家在開發飛行出租車的公司。不得不說,Joby在我們看來明顯領先于其他人。對于Elevate,我們當初為它制定了一個非常強大的市場進入戰略,專門針對大眾市場——以大眾負擔得起的價格吸引大量乘客。Joby則有技術,有飛行汽車,我們認為他們在爭取監管認證和安全計劃方面遠遠勝過其他競爭者。我們也認為,將Elevate和Joby結合起來,特別是在這項技術還處于早期迭代的時候,會是一個雙贏選擇。

《財富》:按照你的預期,這種合作將來會有什么樣的商業模式?以后我是不是打開Uber應用程序,就能夠預訂一輛Joby飛行出租車從曼哈頓飛到漢普頓?

科斯羅薩西:我認為這肯定會是其中一種模式,這就是為什么我們要將Joby的技術與Uber的應用程序服務深度整合。如果你要從曼哈頓中城前往肯尼迪國際機場,你可以選擇用Uber打車,同時也能夠選擇搭乘Joby的飛行汽車,整個行程將用時25分鐘,非常安全,非常安靜,而且也相當實惠。

Joby董事長保羅·夏拉:在早期與科斯羅薩西洽談期間,我們感到非常滿意的一點是,我們都認為,未來這種包含多種交通出行方式的模式將會變得十分重要。當我們設想我們的服務時,很明顯,它是一項基于飛行汽車的服務,能夠將把人們送達目的地的時間加快5到10倍,在比地面駕駛更安全的情況下做到這一點,而且隨著時間的推移,服務價格可以變得越來越趨近于Uber X。但這確實意味著我們需要將地面交通和這種空中交通方式結合起來,使其無縫連接。

《財富》:將這些不同的交通方式整合到一個平臺上,有多容易呢?

科斯羅薩西:這絕對不會容易,這也是Uber對這個問題著迷的原因之一。我們會有公共交通,我們會有公共汽車,我們會有汽車,我們會有出租車,我們會有Joby飛行出租車,我們會有微型交通工具,等等。至于這些不同的交通模式是如何運作的,我們所擁有的相關全局數據比任何其他公司都要多。這將是一個巨大的機器學習問題,也是一個將這些不同類型的交通方式整合起來的機會。但我們認為,我們能夠無縫實現這一點。我們將提供一個服務按鈕、一個價格等等。

《財富》:什么時候可以實現?

夏拉:我們一直很清楚,我們覺得有辦法在2023年年底前獲得監管機構的認證,有望在2024年實現商業飛行。我們的策略是,在廣泛推出之前,可能先在個別地區深入開展服務。因此,我們將在2024年之后分階段推出服務,逐個市場循序漸進地推進。

《財富》:達拉,你們已經把Elevate的資產賣給了Joby。但作為Joby上市交易的一部分,你們又把錢投向了飛行出租車。你能不能談一談為什么這么做?

科斯羅薩西:我認為,這筆交易并不只是出售Elevate,也包括買入Joby。這是對Joby團隊的押注,是對Joby技術的押注。Joby的飛行汽車是為大眾普及用途而設計的。而Uber可帶來的是讓Joby的每輛車能夠坐滿四個人,提升利用率,從而降低價格,使其成為一款真正的大眾市場產品,而不是專屬于精英的產品。

《財富》:對于飛行出租車,很多人都有這樣的疑問:有誰會坐呢?我想,很多人都會對乘坐一種新型的飛行器進行短途出行感到非常恐懼,畢竟他們現在都是用汽車進行短途出行。

夏拉:對于飛行汽車,我們從一開始就考慮它的經濟模式。這促使我們研制出容量更大、速度更快的飛行汽車。我們的產品在地面上的充電時間要短于一些競爭對手,這一切都是為了真正確保我們能夠達到一個可行的價格點:開始時是可以負擔的,然后隨著我們規模的不斷擴大,價格逐漸降低。但你說得對,確保人們放心乘坐飛行汽車也確實很重要。這就是獲得美國聯邦航空管理局的認證很重要的一部分原因。然后,我們還嘗試在飛行汽車的設計上盡量考慮周到,使其感覺舒適,讓整個體驗更像是進出一輛SUV,而不是像爬過一架小飛機的機翼或進入一架直升機那樣。哪怕是飛行汽車的噪音問題,也要處理好,讓人們坐在里面的時候不必佩戴耳機,這一點決定了人們是感覺像坐在汽車里,還是感覺像坐在某種很陌生的東西里。

《財富》:你的一些競爭對手簽署了合作協議,獲得了大型航空公司的資金支持。Joby迄今為止未與任何航空公司展開合作。你現在有這樣的訴求嗎?與航空公司的合作是否有其必然性?

夏拉:我們可以采用的行程類型之一就是機場到市區,這種行程也比較有價值。我們認為,就這類行程而言,Uber是一位非常好的合作伙伴。(但)這并不是說不會有其他合作伙伴。我們將在今年晚些時候宣布我們的目標市場。與此同時,我們也將考慮合適的合作伙伴。所以我們合作的可能是航空公司,也可能是地面起降的基礎設施合作伙伴。但這實際上就是把商業運行所需的整套東西整合在一起。

《財富》:達拉,Joby即將上市,你給保羅提過什么建議嗎?作為曾經的由風投支持的私營企業,上市后投資者需求也會有所差異,對嗎?

科斯羅薩西:昨晚我和保羅剛談過這件事。歸根結底,我認為這是一個關于基本面的問題。保羅和團隊打造了一款了不起、安全的交通工具。我認為這就是需求。需求的增長也會帶動投資需求。有消費需求,就會有大量的投資。

《財富》:是否存在期望過高的風險?

科斯羅薩西:我認為,短期內必然會出現投資者預期和創業現實之間不匹配的風險。但從長遠來看,二者一定會達成一致。我認為Joby是一項長期投資。Joby會找到投資者基礎,并且Joby一定會給投資者帶來可觀的回報。

夏拉:我和達拉談過執行力方面的問題。這就是我們對下一階段的思考。確保我們能夠完成認證工作;確保我們已經證明了我們具備大規模制造這些飛機的能力;第三點也就是最后一點,我們正在為2024年投入商用做準備。我們每天都在為實現這些目標前赴后繼,我認為從長遠來看,我們的發展前景看好。

《財富》:Uber和出租車的現有行程數據對Joby有幫助嗎?這種需求在哪里?

科斯羅薩西:我們基本上可以繪制出路線的交叉點、路線長度、價格,以及頻率,從而基于現實需求的歷史數據得出最佳起降點。因此,我們不玩猜謎游戲,Joby就能夠以一種最智能的結構與基礎設施合作伙伴達成最好的[交易]。

《財富》:Joby會像Uber一樣采用動態定價嗎?屆時飛行員的身份是Joby員工,還是Uber司機一樣的獨立承包商?

夏拉:我可以肯定地說,飛行員將會是Joby的工作人員。招募和培訓專業飛行員對我們來說非常重要。在定價問題上,我認為我們會利用動態定價來保證我們有機會實現高上座率。隨著我們對飛行出租車的利用率越來越高,我們就可以把價格降下來。

《財富》:保羅,你能談談申請美國聯邦航空管理局認證的情況嗎?這一過程進展如何?

夏拉:五年前,我們以非正式的方式與美國聯邦航空管理局進行了深入對話。近兩年來我們一直在走正式認證流程。去年12月我們率先獲得了電動垂直起降(eVTOL)行業的航空管理局G1問題紀要。這是我們在部件層面需要的一系列測試藍圖,繼而在整機層面證明其安全性以及各類應用。因此,這是一個重要的里程碑,因為之前我們并不清楚有哪些必須的要素。現在的工作就是確保合適的時機,而我們有足夠的時間進行測試和處理數據,將結果提交給美國聯邦航空管理局,并確保到2023年做好所有的認證準備工作。所以這個過程中沒有什么大的未知因素,真正考驗我們的是執行力問題。

《財富》:保羅,你打造的是一款全新的飛行器。你們是如何為此開發供應鏈的?

夏拉:與其他公司相比,我們采取了更加垂直整合的方式,這在很大程度上是必要的。現在電動飛機的許多部件并不一定需要供應鏈:電池組、高扭矩密度的電動機,以及一些類似的飛機飛行控制系統。所有這些都必須從頭開始重新思考。但在我們看來,最終我們會獲得一款性能更加優越的交通工具。所以這是值得做的。關于這款飛行器產量的考慮也不同于傳統的航空業。比如我們首個制造工廠每年會生產數百家航空器,這個數量就已經高于現在的飛機年產量。因此,我們必須重新考慮這一點,從一開始就親歷親為地去做更多的工作。

《財富》:Joby是最早開始研究eVTOL的公司之一。但現在這一領域競爭愈發激烈,一些大型航空公司也在研發這類飛行器。這對你們是不是一種威脅,還是說這種現狀會推動消費者接受這種新產品?

夏拉:我認為這在很大程度上證明了我們近十年來一直在尋找的市場機會是值得的。所以從這個角度來看,我認為這是一件好事情。我們唯一能夠控制的就是我們指定的時間節點的執行情況。我認為,如果我們可以準確執行這些目標,從長遠來看,我們將占據有利地位。(財富中文網)

譯者:萬志文、唐塵

在飛行出租車競賽中,Joby Aviation是走在前列的競爭者。該類小型飛機使用多個電力驅動的發動機,可以像直升機一樣垂直起飛降落,因而有望應用于人口密集的城市交通出行。但一旦升空,這種飛機在飛行方式上會更像傳統飛機,它能夠搭乘1至4名乘客,可以在一個小時內完成高達150英里(約241.4公里)的行程。按照生產商的設想,飛行出租車將很快與傳統出租車和汽車展開競爭,搭載乘客往返于城市中心和機場、鄰近城市(費城和紐約相距不到160公里)、周末度假場所等目的地,在道路交通擁擠的時候尤其能夠派上用場。

總部位于加州圣克魯斯的Joby公司自2009年以來一直在研制這種飛機。該公司表示,其采用六旋翼設計的原型機已經進行了遠程駕駛飛行測試,有望在2023年獲得美國聯邦航空管理局(Federal Aviation Authority)的認證,并在2024年之前搭載付費乘客。去年12月,它將共享汽車巨頭Uber的飛行出租車部門Uber Elevate收歸門下。

2月,Joby宣布計劃通過與Reinvent Technology Partners合并在紐約證券交易所(New York Stock Exchange)掛牌上市,Reinvent Technology Partners是投資者、LinkedIn的聯合創始人里德·霍夫曼和Zynga的創始人馬克·平卡斯共同創建的一家特殊目的收購公司(SPAC)。這筆交易幫助該飛行汽車公司再籌得16億美元,其估值達到66億美元。

其中的6.9億美元來自Reinvent,其余的融資則來自一些知名的私募投資機構,其中包括貝萊德(BlackRock)、富達國際(Fidelity)和蘇格蘭科技投資巨頭Baillie Gifford旗下管理的基金。對沖基金The Baupost Group也參與投資。Uber從出售Elevate給Joby的交易中獲得了7500萬美元的可轉換債券,它也宣布將那些債券轉換為股份。對Uber來說,這是明智之舉。通過將Elevate賣給Joby,Uber很大程度上甩掉了飛行出租車可能永遠不會實現騰飛的風險。但通過低價獲得Joby的股權,它也保留了從飛行出租車的潛在成功中獲益的機會。

《財富》雜志最近(通過Zoom)對Uber首席執行官達拉·科斯羅薩西以及Joby董事長保羅·夏拉(以Pinterest聯合創始人而著稱)進行了采訪,與他們討論了Joby以及它的未來。以下是對話摘錄(內容經過編輯精簡提煉)。

《財富》:達拉,你們把Uber的飛行出租車業務賣給了Joby。你們為什么對和他們合作如此興奮?

Uber首席執行官達拉·科斯羅薩西:通過Elevate,我們有機會接觸到各家在開發飛行出租車的公司。不得不說,Joby在我們看來明顯領先于其他人。對于Elevate,我們當初為它制定了一個非常強大的市場進入戰略,專門針對大眾市場——以大眾負擔得起的價格吸引大量乘客。Joby則有技術,有飛行汽車,我們認為他們在爭取監管認證和安全計劃方面遠遠勝過其他競爭者。我們也認為,將Elevate和Joby結合起來,特別是在這項技術還處于早期迭代的時候,會是一個雙贏選擇。

《財富》:按照你的預期,這種合作將來會有什么樣的商業模式?以后我是不是打開Uber應用程序,就能夠預訂一輛Joby飛行出租車從曼哈頓飛到漢普頓?

科斯羅薩西:我認為這肯定會是其中一種模式,這就是為什么我們要將Joby的技術與Uber的應用程序服務深度整合。如果你要從曼哈頓中城前往肯尼迪國際機場,你可以選擇用Uber打車,同時也能夠選擇搭乘Joby的飛行汽車,整個行程將用時25分鐘,非常安全,非常安靜,而且也相當實惠。

Joby董事長保羅·夏拉:在早期與科斯羅薩西洽談期間,我們感到非常滿意的一點是,我們都認為,未來這種包含多種交通出行方式的模式將會變得十分重要。當我們設想我們的服務時,很明顯,它是一項基于飛行汽車的服務,能夠將把人們送達目的地的時間加快5到10倍,在比地面駕駛更安全的情況下做到這一點,而且隨著時間的推移,服務價格可以變得越來越趨近于Uber X。但這確實意味著我們需要將地面交通和這種空中交通方式結合起來,使其無縫連接。

《財富》:將這些不同的交通方式整合到一個平臺上,有多容易呢?

科斯羅薩西:這絕對不會容易,這也是Uber對這個問題著迷的原因之一。我們會有公共交通,我們會有公共汽車,我們會有汽車,我們會有出租車,我們會有Joby飛行出租車,我們會有微型交通工具,等等。至于這些不同的交通模式是如何運作的,我們所擁有的相關全局數據比任何其他公司都要多。這將是一個巨大的機器學習問題,也是一個將這些不同類型的交通方式整合起來的機會。但我們認為,我們能夠無縫實現這一點。我們將提供一個服務按鈕、一個價格等等。

《財富》:什么時候可以實現?

夏拉:我們一直很清楚,我們覺得有辦法在2023年年底前獲得監管機構的認證,有望在2024年實現商業飛行。我們的策略是,在廣泛推出之前,可能先在個別地區深入開展服務。因此,我們將在2024年之后分階段推出服務,逐個市場循序漸進地推進。

《財富》:達拉,你們已經把Elevate的資產賣給了Joby。但作為Joby上市交易的一部分,你們又把錢投向了飛行出租車。你能不能談一談為什么這么做?

科斯羅薩西:我認為,這筆交易并不只是出售Elevate,也包括買入Joby。這是對Joby團隊的押注,是對Joby技術的押注。Joby的飛行汽車是為大眾普及用途而設計的。而Uber可帶來的是讓Joby的每輛車能夠坐滿四個人,提升利用率,從而降低價格,使其成為一款真正的大眾市場產品,而不是專屬于精英的產品。

《財富》:對于飛行出租車,很多人都有這樣的疑問:有誰會坐呢?我想,很多人都會對乘坐一種新型的飛行器進行短途出行感到非常恐懼,畢竟他們現在都是用汽車進行短途出行。

夏拉:對于飛行汽車,我們從一開始就考慮它的經濟模式。這促使我們研制出容量更大、速度更快的飛行汽車。我們的產品在地面上的充電時間要短于一些競爭對手,這一切都是為了真正確保我們能夠達到一個可行的價格點:開始時是可以負擔的,然后隨著我們規模的不斷擴大,價格逐漸降低。但你說得對,確保人們放心乘坐飛行汽車也確實很重要。這就是獲得美國聯邦航空管理局的認證很重要的一部分原因。然后,我們還嘗試在飛行汽車的設計上盡量考慮周到,使其感覺舒適,讓整個體驗更像是進出一輛SUV,而不是像爬過一架小飛機的機翼或進入一架直升機那樣。哪怕是飛行汽車的噪音問題,也要處理好,讓人們坐在里面的時候不必佩戴耳機,這一點決定了人們是感覺像坐在汽車里,還是感覺像坐在某種很陌生的東西里。

《財富》:你的一些競爭對手簽署了合作協議,獲得了大型航空公司的資金支持。Joby迄今為止未與任何航空公司展開合作。你現在有這樣的訴求嗎?與航空公司的合作是否有其必然性?

夏拉:我們可以采用的行程類型之一就是機場到市區,這種行程也比較有價值。我們認為,就這類行程而言,Uber是一位非常好的合作伙伴。(但)這并不是說不會有其他合作伙伴。我們將在今年晚些時候宣布我們的目標市場。與此同時,我們也將考慮合適的合作伙伴。所以我們合作的可能是航空公司,也可能是地面起降的基礎設施合作伙伴。但這實際上就是把商業運行所需的整套東西整合在一起。

《財富》:達拉,Joby即將上市,你給保羅提過什么建議嗎?作為曾經的由風投支持的私營企業,上市后投資者需求也會有所差異,對嗎?

科斯羅薩西:昨晚我和保羅剛談過這件事。歸根結底,我認為這是一個關于基本面的問題。保羅和團隊打造了一款了不起、安全的交通工具。我認為這就是需求。需求的增長也會帶動投資需求。有消費需求,就會有大量的投資。

《財富》:是否存在期望過高的風險?

科斯羅薩西:我認為,短期內必然會出現投資者預期和創業現實之間不匹配的風險。但從長遠來看,二者一定會達成一致。我認為Joby是一項長期投資。Joby會找到投資者基礎,并且Joby一定會給投資者帶來可觀的回報。

夏拉:我和達拉談過執行力方面的問題。這就是我們對下一階段的思考。確保我們能夠完成認證工作;確保我們已經證明了我們具備大規模制造這些飛機的能力;第三點也就是最后一點,我們正在為2024年投入商用做準備。我們每天都在為實現這些目標前赴后繼,我認為從長遠來看,我們的發展前景看好。

《財富》:Uber和出租車的現有行程數據對Joby有幫助嗎?這種需求在哪里?

科斯羅薩西:我們基本上可以繪制出路線的交叉點、路線長度、價格,以及頻率,從而基于現實需求的歷史數據得出最佳起降點。因此,我們不玩猜謎游戲,Joby就能夠以一種最智能的結構與基礎設施合作伙伴達成最好的[交易]。

《財富》:Joby會像Uber一樣采用動態定價嗎?屆時飛行員的身份是Joby員工,還是Uber司機一樣的獨立承包商?

夏拉:我可以肯定地說,飛行員將會是Joby的工作人員。招募和培訓專業飛行員對我們來說非常重要。在定價問題上,我認為我們會利用動態定價來保證我們有機會實現高上座率。隨著我們對飛行出租車的利用率越來越高,我們就可以把價格降下來。

《財富》:保羅,你能談談申請美國聯邦航空管理局認證的情況嗎?這一過程進展如何?

夏拉:五年前,我們以非正式的方式與美國聯邦航空管理局進行了深入對話。近兩年來我們一直在走正式認證流程。去年12月我們率先獲得了電動垂直起降(eVTOL)行業的航空管理局G1問題紀要。這是我們在部件層面需要的一系列測試藍圖,繼而在整機層面證明其安全性以及各類應用。因此,這是一個重要的里程碑,因為之前我們并不清楚有哪些必須的要素。現在的工作就是確保合適的時機,而我們有足夠的時間進行測試和處理數據,將結果提交給美國聯邦航空管理局,并確保到2023年做好所有的認證準備工作。所以這個過程中沒有什么大的未知因素,真正考驗我們的是執行力問題。

《財富》:保羅,你打造的是一款全新的飛行器。你們是如何為此開發供應鏈的?

夏拉:與其他公司相比,我們采取了更加垂直整合的方式,這在很大程度上是必要的。現在電動飛機的許多部件并不一定需要供應鏈:電池組、高扭矩密度的電動機,以及一些類似的飛機飛行控制系統。所有這些都必須從頭開始重新思考。但在我們看來,最終我們會獲得一款性能更加優越的交通工具。所以這是值得做的。關于這款飛行器產量的考慮也不同于傳統的航空業。比如我們首個制造工廠每年會生產數百家航空器,這個數量就已經高于現在的飛機年產量。因此,我們必須重新考慮這一點,從一開始就親歷親為地去做更多的工作。

《財富》:Joby是最早開始研究eVTOL的公司之一。但現在這一領域競爭愈發激烈,一些大型航空公司也在研發這類飛行器。這對你們是不是一種威脅,還是說這種現狀會推動消費者接受這種新產品?

夏拉:我認為這在很大程度上證明了我們近十年來一直在尋找的市場機會是值得的。所以從這個角度來看,我認為這是一件好事情。我們唯一能夠控制的就是我們指定的時間節點的執行情況。我認為,如果我們可以準確執行這些目標,從長遠來看,我們將占據有利地位。(財富中文網)

譯者:萬志文、唐塵

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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