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Marubeni Corporation, which boasts notable investment from renowned financier Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway, holds a substantial stake nearing 8% in the company. This alliance marks a significant development for both entities, further solidifying Marubeni’s presence in the global market.
Headquartered in Austin, Texas, LIFT Aircraft Inc has gained recognition for its innovative HEXA personal aerial vehicle. The company’s latest move involves collaborating with Marubeni to introduce the groundbreaking aircraft to the Japanese market. The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) outlines their joint efforts, encompassing market research, regulatory negotiations, and even a pre-order option for up to 100 aircraft, pending approval by the Japanese Civil Aviation Bureau (JCAB). The HEXA aircraft, classified as an ultralight vehicle by FAA standards, eliminates the necessity for a pilot’s license or type certification.
Speaking about the partnership, Matt Chasen, CEO of LIFT Aircraft, expressed enthusiasm, noting, “We are thrilled to join forces with Marubeni Corporation, a distinguished leader in the global market, to realize the potential of this technology in Japan and throughout the world.” He underscored Marubeni’s industry expertise, operational prowess, and commitment to advancing the electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) sector, which positions them as an ideal collaborator.
In a significant demonstration of their joint capabilities, LIFT and Marubeni orchestrated public flights of the HEXA eVTOL aircraft in Osaka and Ehime, Japan, earlier this year. These flights marked the first-ever piloted eVTOL demonstrations in Japan and gained special recognition as part of the Osaka Prefectural Government’s Subsidy for Urban Business Creation Flying Car Projects. The collaboration also earned a place as a Candidate Demonstrator for Expo 2025, a major project led by the Japan Association and the Osaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Notably, these demonstrations took place in the absence of an equivalent regulatory framework for eVTOL aircraft in Japan, unlike the FAA’s Part 103 in the U.S. As such, the Japan Civil Aviation Bureau (JCAB) meticulously evaluated the aircraft’s safety and testing program, along with its flight capabilities, before granting permission for the demonstrations.
With Marubeni’s influential backing and LIFT Aircraft’s pioneering technology, this partnership sets the stage for the advancement of eVTOL technology in Japan.
Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional drone services marketplace, and a fascinated observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has penned over 3,000 articles focused on the commercial drone space and is an international speaker and recognized figure in the industry. Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.
For drone industry consulting or writing, Email Miriam.
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