Japan Successfully Tested a Flying Car

Japanese company SkyDrive Inc. says it envisions a society where flying cars are an "accessible and convenient means of transportation."
August 31, 2020, 12:29pm
skydrive japan flying car
Screenshot from a video of the SD-03 flying car model test flight by SkyDrive. Photo: Screenshot/SkyDrive

Looks like futuristic fantasies of flying cars zipping through the sky just became closer to reality. 

Japanese company SkyDrive Inc. announced on Friday, August 28, that it had successfully conducted a public test flight for its new SD-03 flying car model—billed as the first demonstration of its kind in Japan.

The SD-03 was tested at 10,000-square-meter (approximately 2.5-acre) Toyota Test Field, one of the largest test fields in Japan, the company said in a statement.

The single-seater aircraft-car mashup was manned by a pilot who circled the field for about four minutes before landing. The company said that the pilot was backed up by technical staff at the field who monitored conditions to ensure flight stability and safety. 

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SkyDrive CEO Tomohiro Fukuzawa said the company hopes to see its technological experiment become a reality by 2023.

“We are extremely excited to have achieved Japan’s first-ever manned flight of a flying car in the two years since we founded SkyDrive in 2018 with the goal of commercializing such an aircraft,” Fukuzawa said. 

“We want to realize a society where flying cars are an accessible and convenient means of transportation in the skies and people are able to experience a safe, secure, and comfortable new way of life,” he added. 

Designed to be the world’s smallest electric Vertical Take-Off and Landing (eVTOL) model, the flying car measures two meters high by four meters wide (six feet high by 13 feet wide). It takes as much space on the ground as two parked cars. 

“We believe that this vehicle will play an active role as your travel companion, a compact coupe flying in the sky,” said Takumi Yamamot, the company’s design director. “As a pioneer of a new genre, we would like to continue designing the vehicles that everyone dreams of.”

The company has not listed a price for the aircraft as of yet, though executives feel confident that sci-fi enthusiasts and busy commuters alike will take to the new mode of transportation. According to the company’s timeline, they envision the SD-03 to be operating with “full autonomy” by 2030.

“The company hopes that its aircraft will become people’s partner in the sky rather than merely a commodity and it will continue working to design a safe sky for the future,” the company said in its statement.