Commercial air taxi manufacturer Joby Aviation says its pre-production aircraft has met the “revolutionary low” noise targets the company had set for itself during acoustic testing with NASA. As per preliminary results, the all-electric air taxis should barely be perceptible in urban environments.
NASA and Joby teamed up in September 2021 to measure the acoustic profile of Joby’s aircraft. The tests were conducted as part of NASA’s nationwide campaign to promote public confidence in Advanced Air Mobility (AAM). A lot of data was collected in this process. And now, the initial results from an analysis of that data are ready.
Joby’s air taxi prototype has registered the equivalent of 45.2 A-weighted decibels (dBA) from an altitude of 1,640 feet at 100 knots airspeed – a sound level the company believes will barely be perceptible against the ambient environment of cities.
Meanwhile, during takeoff and landing at a distance of 330 feet from the flight path, noise profiles were found to be below 65 dBA, which the company says are comparable to normal conversation levels.
More details will be shared by both Joby and NASA in technical papers at industry conferences this summer. But for now, Shivanjli Sharma, acting lead for NASA’s AAM National Campaign, says:
We will use this data to help us understand the vehicle’s performance characteristics, the acoustics profiles, as well as information that will help us develop modeling scenarios. Not just one or two flights per day, but at the scale that we predict these vehicles will begin flying when used by the public.
NASA’s teams will conduct similar testing during the next AAM National Campaign acoustic flight tests with Wisk.
In the meantime, Joby confirms it will use NASA’s findings to adjust flight software and takeoff and landing procedures for further low-noise optimization. Nonetheless, JoeBen Bevirt, founder and CEO of Joby, is thrilled to show the world just how discreet air taxis can be. Here’s Bevirt:
With an aircraft this quiet, we have the opportunity to completely rethink how we live and travel today, helping to make flight an everyday reality in and around cities. It’s a gamechanger.
Joby says its aircraft was specifically designed with acoustics in mind – with the number of propellers and blades, blade shape and radius, tip speeds, and disk loading of the aircraft all selected to minimize its acoustics footprint and improve the character of the sound produced.
The piloted five-seat eVTOL aircraft can carry four passengers at speeds of up to 200 mph, with a maximum range of 150 miles on a single charge and zero operating emissions. With more than 10 years of development and over a thousand flight tests completed, Joby is targeting the launch of its aerial ride-sharing service in 2024.