Air Taxi

Joby’s Avionyx Acquisition to Support eVTOL Software Testing and Verification Needs

Avionyx, an aerospace software engineering firm, has been acquired by Joby Aviation to support development of Joby’s electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft. (Photo courtesy of Joby)

California-based Joby Aviation, an electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) developer, recently acquired an aerospace software engineering firm called Avionyx. This acquisition will support Joby’s aircraft type certification program.

The two companies first collaborated in 2021 when Joby awarded Avionyx a contract for software testing and verification of the systems onboard their eVTOL aircraft. “Avionyx has been assisting us with software verification activities across a variety of aircraft systems,” a representative from Joby shared with Avionics. The Federal Aviation Administration’s regulations for flight software require extensive review, analysis, and testing of the onboard systems.

Joby completed its first FAA Compliance Review at the end of 2021 after undergoing evaluations of its approach to developing and verifying its software and airborne electronic hardware. In the coming months, the representative shared, “we’ll continue to use our Vehicle Software Integration Lab (VSIL) at our facility in Marina, CA, where we leverage flight simulation and hardware emulation capabilities to rapidly conduct thousands of pre-programmed tests to validate and verify the performance of aircraft software systems.”

An AS-9100D-certified company, Avionyx will provide the team at Joby Aviation with extensive experience in performing software verification services in accordance with both FAA and EASA (European Union Aviation Safety Agency) standards. Avionyx’s expertise includes ASTM F3153-15, DO-178C, and DO-254 compliance. The company has supported numerous avionics manufacturers with avionics software and hardware engineering services since its founding in 1989. Previous projects at Avionyx included flight displays, communication (SatCom, VHF, ACP), navigation, surveillance such as ADS-B, system monitoring, flight control, and electronic flight bag (EFB) applications.

Software verification is a key component of a commercial aerospace certification program, the spokesperson from Joby explained. ”While we have much of this expertise in-house, there’s a lot of work to do.”

Pre-programmed tests will be conducted at Joby’s Vehicle Software Integration Lab in Marina, California, and at a similar facility that will be located in San Jose, Costa Rica, where Avionyx is based. These tests will validate and verify system performance via Joby’s flight simulation and hardware emulation capabilities, according to the company’s announcement

In its Letter to Shareholders published last month, along with financial results from the first quarter of 2022, Joby revealed that its first design-intent Electric Propulsion Unit (EPU) had been manufactured and is already undergoing durability and performance testing. As of June 1, the team has completed high-intensity testing that is equivalent to 600+ flight hours, the Joby representative told Avionics.

“We continue to move through flight testing objectives with our full-scale pre-production prototype aircraft, including both flight testing and on-ground taxi testing,” said the spokesperson.

Tom Ferrell, Joby’s Development Assurance Lead, commented that the acquisition of Avionyx positions Joby to meet the necessary regulatory requirements in order to bring their eVTOL aircraft to market. “Having worked alongside Avionyx for the last year, I’m continuously impressed by the wealth of experience they bring to our software verification activities,” he added.

Avionyx CEO Larry Allgood also remarked on the news of the acquisition, saying that the Avionyx team is excited to contribute to this work. “Joby’s aircraft is one of the most transformative projects that I have seen during my career,” Allgood said.

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