Saturday, December 2, 2023

Thanks to SkyDrive, flying cars could soon become a reality in Japan

Many startups, including major companies such as Boeing, Airbus, and Hyundai, have long been dedicated to the development of flying cars with the aim of putting this revolutionary mode of transport into practice as soon as possible. The Japanese government is going even further by investing large sums of money into the development of flying cars and intends to commercialize them as soon as 2023.

The Japanese startup SkyDrive is bringing promising results in the field of flying car development. Recently, the company revealed the SD-XX, a sleek two-seater air taxi with dimensions similar to that of a car. This electric aircraft is able to take off and land vertically with the possibility of traveling several tens of kilometers with a speed of about 100 km/h (62 mph). It is the world’s smallest eVTOL, at 1.5 meters tall and measuring 4 meters by 3.5 meters across.

SkyDrive Inc.’s CEO Tomohiro Fukuzawa claims that by 2050, anyone will be able to fly to any destination within the capital’s 23 wards in 10 minutes.

SkyDrive hopes to complete its first flight tests this summer. “We’re considering launching an air taxi service in big cities, either Osaka or Tokyo, with initial flights over the sea as it would be too risky to fly over many people all of a sudden,” Tomohiro Fukuzawa, who previously worked at Toyota, told the Japan Times.

He also added that the “pace of development has been accelerating rapidly with the rise in the number of personnel in the venture.”

SkyDrive is planning to start round-trip flights around many resorts, including Universal Studios Japan. According to Fukuzawa, the initial models of SD-XX will fly basically on autopilot, but it’s not 100% autonomous because a human pilot would need to intervene in case of any emergency. The startup aims to market the first 100 flying cars from 2028. As for the cost, each vehicle will cost the same as a current “expensive” car.