ANA Holdings Inc. will tie up with U.S. startup Joby Aviation Inc. to bring air taxi services to Japan, the companies said Tuesday, with the parent of a major Japanese airline aiming to start the service at the 2025 World Exposition in Osaka.

The parent of All Nippon Airways Co. and the U.S. firm will work together on flight operations, traffic management, infrastructure development and pilot training for flying taxis, they said in a joint release.

Supplied photo shows an all-electric aircraft being developed by U.S. startup Joby Aviation Inc. (Photo courtesy of Joby Aviation)(Kyodo)

Joby Aviation aims to launch an aerial taxi service in 2024. It is developing an all-electric, five-seat aircraft that can take off and land vertically with a maximum range of 241 kilometers and top speed of 321 km per hour.

"Being able to provide (our customers) with the option to travel rapidly -- and sustainably -- from an international airport to a downtown location is very appealing," ANA Holdings Executive Vice President Koji Shibata said in a press release.

ANA follows Toyota Motor Corp. in teaming up with the U.S. electric aircraft maker. The world's biggest carmaker by volume said in 2020 that it invested $394 million in Joby Aviation to share its expertise in car manufacturing and electrification technology to help mass-produce the electric aircraft.

ANA's rival Japan Airlines Co. is also teaming up with trading house Sumitomo Corp. and U.S. aircraft manufacturer Bell Textron Inc. to develop flying taxis and explore business opportunities for next-generation air mobility services in Japan and other Asian countries.

The announcement by ANA came at a time when the Japanese government has been pushing for the development of flying cars, with an eye to putting them to practical use around 2023 to 2025 for such purposes as shipping goods in mountainous and urban areas.

In the future, the government is anticipating using the new transportation system to carry people in urban areas and for disaster relief such as emergency transport in collaboration with private companies in the logistics and automobile sectors, the government said.

At the Osaka expo, Japan is eyeing having flying cars offer passenger rides around the city's Yumeshima artificial island, the exposition venue, or shuttling between the island and an airport located some 20 kilometers away, making it one of main attractions.

As the development race for flying mobility intensifies, an official at the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said that securing safety is among the challenges that need to be addressed.

Among Japanese developers, SkyDrive Inc., a startup with engineers from Toyota, conducted a manned test flight of its flying car in 2019 and also hopes to offer services during the exposition.

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