Jaunt Air Mobility acquired what it now calls the ROSA program from Carter Aviation in April 2019. By June 2019, it had been selected by Uber as the sixth prospective partner for the ride-sharing giant's plans to establish Uber Air using eVTOL aircraft. The program now has the backing of prominent partners Honeywell (providing avionics, navigation systems, electric propulsion system and connectivity systems) and Triumph Group (engineering services).
The company intends to build several versions of the aircraft being developed and all would have similar performance. These would include a passenger-carrying air taxi aircraft called the Jaunt Journey, the Jaunt Jambulance (for emergency medical operations), the Jaunt Joust (for military use) and the Jaunt Geap (for package delivery).
As of early 2020, privately owned Jaunt planned to achieve type certification of a piloted version of ROSA by the end of 2025, followed by an autonomous version by the end of 2029. However, in October 2020, the company acknowledged that the timeline had slipped by almost a year, in part due to disruption caused by the Covid pandemic. It now aims to start low-rate production of the aircraft in 2026 and achieve initial type certification by the end of that year. On September 18, 2020, it started flying a sub-scale technology demonstrator in the Dallas area. The company aims to fly a full-scale prototype in 2023.
Jaunt plans to achieve type certification under the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration's Part 29 rules, which apply to rotorcraft operated commercially. ROSA is described as a "compound helicopter" which has both a main rotor and a fixed wing with propellers.
On October 23, 2019, Jaunt finalized the agreement for Triumph Aerospace Structures to provide engineering and manufacturing services to support the ROSA program. Triumph will design and test the aircraft structure to optimize weight and cost factors, as well as defining how best to ensure they are ready for production. This work will be done at Triumph's Technology and Engineering Center in Arlington, Texas, where they built the technology demonstrator.
Jaunt is also working with BAE Systems to develop the energy management system for ROSA. On December 5, the two companies announced a memorandum of understanding covering work on ROSA's aircraft power management requirements. BAE's Controls and Avionics Solutions division is handling the project.
BAE Systems has 20-plus years of experience developing and integrating electric propulsion systems. The company has more than 10,000 electric-hybrid systems on transit buses and marine vessels around the globe, including major cities such as Paris, London, New York, and San Francisco. The company also has more than 40 years of experience in controls and avionics for military and commercial aircraft.
In October 2020, the company reported that it had started a Series A funding round. At the same time, it said it is in talks with a possible manufacturing partner outside the U.S. This followed a board decision to replace co-founder Kaydon Stanzione as CEO, with CTO Martin Peryea being appointed on an interim basis.
On December 16, 2020, Jaunt Air Mobility announced its partnership with propulsion specialist VerdeGo Aero to explore development of a hybrid-electric aircraft. The company aims to use VerdeGo's diesel-electric generator system in tandem with its existing battery pack design. Jaunt indicated in the announcement that the hybrid-electric design offers greater range and more power than their all-electric Journey model, while offering up to a 40% reduction in carbon emissions over comparably sized turbine-powered aircraft. Although Jaunt did not state a range target, they referenced the U.S. Air Force's 100 mile minimum range requirement.
A January 14, 2021 announcement revealed a partnership with Italian startup Walle to launch air taxi services using the Jaunt Journey eVTOL. Walle has stated it would like to begin service with flights up to 50 km using the five-seat, hybrid-electric aircraft, which aim to begin production in 2026. As of now, the Milan-based company has committed to the purchase of three new Jaunt eVTOL's, with more orders in the future should new routes and a larger network prove feasible, promising to also assist Jaunt with the interior design of the aircraft.
Although the Journey is slated to eventually be certified in the U.S. under 14 CFR Part 29 with the FAA, Jaunt is still working with local and regulatory authorities in Italy to make plans for its proposed air taxi network there.