The Future of Advanced Air Mobility

Joby Advances Work on eVTOL Radar With Inras Acquisition

Joby Aviation is boosting its in-house capability in radio frequency (RF) technology with the acquisition of specialist start-up Inras. The Austrian company has been helping its new U.S. owner to develop a customized radar system for its four-passenger eVTOL aircraft.

With Joby’s backing, Inras is now expanding its five-person team to accelerate work in designing RF systems, processing boards, real-time signal processing, and advanced radar sensors. The Linz-based company was founded by Andreas Harderer and Andreas Stelzer.

“We look forward to integrating our advanced sensing technology into Joby’s electric air taxi,” said Stelzer, who is chair of the Johannes Kepler University’s RF systems department, where he has been a professor since 2011. “The technology we have developed will improve the aircraft’s onboard detection and navigation capabilities in preparation for scaled operations.”

In February, Joby announced the selection of Garmin’s G3000 integrated flight deck for the piloted eVTOL aircraft it aims to certify by 2024. Other avionics groups, some with radar development capability, have been vying to enter the advanced air mobility market, including Honeywell, Thales, Safran, and BAE Systems.

Joby’s decision to acquire a much smaller and lower profile partner like Inras might reflect its desire to retain full control over the new vehicle’s key systems. The company has said very little about other partnerships involved in the program, apart from acknowledging the contribution of the engineering team from Japanese automotive group Toyota, which is one of its larger investors.

“We have been continually impressed with Inras since we began working with them to develop custom radar systems for our aircraft,” commented Joby founder and CEO JoeBen Bevirt. “They are leaders in solving the challenges associated with airborne sensing and autonomy and we are excited to welcome them to Joby as we move to integrate more advanced detection capabilities in the future.”

Earlier this month, Joby appointed former National Air Traffic Controllers’ Association president Paul Rinaldi to its advisory board. Prior to joining the industry body, where he led close cooperation with the FAA to improve airspace safety, he worked as an air traffic controller at the Washington-Dulles Airport ATC tower.