Japan’s first-ever manned test flights of a flying car completed by SkyDrive

Engineers from the Japanese company Cartivator have safely completed the first phase of the manned test flights of the prototype of the promising SkyDrive flying machine. It is the smallest flying vehicle in the world, with the ability to take off and land vertically from public roads.

The company started an unmanned outdoor flight test in December 2018, and since then, has said that it has carried out numerous technical verifications. Then the manned flight tests – that started in December 2019 and completed safely in March 2020 – confirmed the controllability and flight stability of the test aircraft. These tests were recognized as completely successful.

The group of Cartivator engineers was also responsible for NEC Corp’s drone-like flying car concept with a cabin dangling underneath.

The SkyDrive will be able to transport two people.
The SkyDrive will be able to transport two people.

The development of the SkyDrive flying car has been underway in Japan since 2017. A promising machine, which is an 8-rotor coaxial multirotor with a small, boxy cabin on top, has a length of 3.6 meters, a width of 1.7 meters, and a height of 1.1 meters. The car was reported to be able to fly at speeds of up to 100 km/h (62 mph) and move along public streets at speeds of up to 60 km/h (about 37 mph).

The height that the electric machine can reach is up to 50 meters even though this is not concluded as the maximum altitude. The SkyDrive will be able to transport two people or cargo weighing up to 400 kg. It can also fly both under pilot control and in unmanned mode. Nothing has been revealed about other specifications and shipping, but we are sure to find out more with time.

Cartivator engineers are now planning to complete SkyDrive development, certification and commercialization of the flying machine by the end of 2023. The company plans to sell the flying car not only for personal use but also as an ambulance or emergency response vehicle.

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