A Japanese company has announced the successful test drive of a flying car.
A japanese company called Sky Drive has just tested a single-seat prototype for it’s electric vertical takeoff and landing vehicle, aka a flying car, at Toyota Test Field.
It was the first public demonstration for a flying car in Japanese history.
The car named SD-03 can land in a spot the size of two parking spaces and in production form will seat two- one of whom will be a pilot, it took off and circled the field for about four minutes.
That doesn’t sound too effective for taxi purpose, but the project has Toyota backing and aims to have flying taxis in the air 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… with the goal of commercializing such aircraft,” CEO Tomohiro Fukuzawa said in a statement.
“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.”
“In designing an unexplored, new genre of transportation known as the flying car, we chose the keyword “progressive” for inspiration,” Design Director Takumi Yamamot said.
“We wanted this vehicle to be futuristic, charismatic and desirable for all future customers, while fully incorporating the high technology of SkyDrive.
SkyDrive’s SD-03 prototype is a proof of concept for a new type of taxi. It’s small, with a footprint that’s roughly 12 feet square, which means that it could land in a spot the size of two parking spaces. Lift is delivered by four sets of counter-rotating rotors, each powered by its own motor.
The company says the eight-rotor, four-motor setup provides redundancy in case of a failure. They’re also pretty up-front that the extra safety might help assuage the concerns of legislators who worry about car-sized objects dropping from the heavens upon their constituents’ backyard barbecues.
Assuming it reaches production, the SD-03 will be a two-seater, with one of those seats belonging to the pilot, so forget about air-carpooling. The prototype is only a single-seater, which navigated Toyota’s 2.5-acre field for about four minutes at an altitude of six feet.
The design incorporates headlights and taillights—not just in the normal locations, but underneath as well, so that observers on the ground can easily decipher the SD-03’s direction of travel. The company is planning to escape Toyota’s gilded cage for more adventurous flights by the end of the year, with the goal of sending air taxis flitting around Tokyo by 2023.
The company hopes to make the flying car a part of normal life and not just a commodity. More test flights will occur in the future under different conditions to make sure the safety and technology of the vehicle meet industry standards.
The success of this flight means that it is likely the car will be tested outside of the Toyota Test field by the end of the year.
The company will continue to develop technologies to safely and securely launch the flying car in 2023, the news release said. No price has been announced.