Joby acquires autonomous aviation tech firm Xwing

  • June 10, 2024
  • Steve Rogerson

Joby Aviation has acquired fellow Californian company Xwing, a specialist in the development of autonomous technology for aviation.

The acquisition supports Joby’s long-term vision of making aerial mobility as accessible as possible through the adoption of autonomous technologies. This is expected to accelerate existing and potential future contracts with the US Department of Defense.

Joby is developing electric air taxis for commercial passenger service.

Founded in 2016, Xwing has been flying autonomous aircraft since 2020, using the Superpilot software it has developed in-house. Superpilot enables safe, uncrewed operations, supervised from the ground, and is said to be the world’s first fully autonomous gate-to-gate flight technology. With 250 fully autonomous flights and more than 500 auto-landings completed to date, Xwing became the first company to receive an official project designation for the certification of a large unmanned aerial system (UAS) from the FAA in 2023 and the first to receive an Air Force Military Flight Release in 2024.

The acquisition complements the company’s 2021 acquisition of Inras, a firm developing lightweight, radar sensor technology. Xwing’s approach and expertise in perception technology, system integration and certification are expected to benefit near-term piloted operations for Joby as well as fully autonomous operations in the future. The company also expects the technology to play a role in accelerating the execution of existing contract deliverables with the US Department of Defense and expanding the potential for future contracts.

“The aircraft we are certifying will have a fully-qualified pilot on board, but we recognise that a future generation of autonomous aircraft will play an important part in unlocking our vision of making clean and affordable aerial mobility as accessible as possible,” said JoeBen Bevirt, Joby CEO. “The exceptionally talented Xwing team has not only made unparalleled progress on the development and certification of vision systems, sensor fusion and decision-making autonomous technologies, but they’ve also successfully demonstrated the real-life application of their technology, flying hundreds of fully autonomous flights in the national airspace. We’re honoured to bring them onboard at Joby as we continue on our mission of building a next-generation aviation company.”

Engineers, researchers and technologists from Xwing will now be integrated into Joby where they will focus on the increased automation and autonomy roadmap for the Joby aircraft as well as expanding opportunities to partner with the Department of Defense on technology development.

“Xwing’s goal of connecting communities with clean and affordable autonomous flight aligns closely with Joby’s long-term vision,” said Maxime Gariel, president of Xwing ( “I am incredibly proud of each member of the Xwing team and everything this talented group has achieved to date. For the past seven years, our team has broken barriers to advance aviation autonomy. Now, as we join forces with the leading electric air-taxi developer, I can’t imagine a better home for the Xwing team to realise our shared vision.”

Xwing’s autonomous flights were completed using a Cessna 208B Grand Caravan aircraft, allowing the team to focus on areas such as vision system processing, detect-and-avoid algorithms, mission management including trajectory planning and real-time updates, decision making, ground control stations, remote operations, and the integration of AI and machine learning.

In early 2024, the aircraft participated in the Air Force’s Agile Flag 24-1 Joint Force exercise, during which it completed daily flights, covering around 4500km and landing at eight public and military airports, demonstrating the ability to integrate autonomous aircraft into the national airspace system.

The acquisition covers all Xwing’s existing automation and autonomy technology activities and was paid for with Joby shares. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Joby Aviation ( is a California-based transportation company developing an all-electric, vertical take-off and landing air taxi, which it intends to operate as part of a fast, quiet and convenient service in cities around the world.