Japan Readies for Flying Cars by 2023
SkyDrive Successful Test Flight
|Source: SkyDrive Test Flight|
Japanese Govt. Wants Flying Cars Operating by 2023
The beginning of the flying car era just got a lot closer. Today, Japan's flying car, the SkyDrive, took off with one person onboard in a successful test flight. It lifted up several feet (1 to 2 meters) and then hovered in a netted area for four minutes. It was a modest test flight but the vehicle worked.
There are more than 100 flying car projects around the world. The most notable are the Dutch PAL-V, Lithium of Germany, Joby Aircraft of California, Wisk (Boeing & Larry Page's Kitty Hawk) and SkyDrive. According to SkyDrive leader Tomohiro Fukuzawa, only a very few have succeeded to fly with a person onboard. The Japanese government wants flying cars in the skies over major Japanese cities to ease traffic by 2023. Fukuzawa expects SkyDrive to be an available product on the market by 2023.
SkyDrive is an eVTOL, meaning electric vertical take-off and landing vehicle. That means you don't need an airport. It's point to point travel, for instance, from your driveway to the mall, eVTOLs promise green electric personal air mobility over traffic jams. Right now, the SkyDrive can fly for 10 minutes. The company says when it reaches 30 minutes worth of fly-time, it will have great potential for commercialization, including as exports to places like China.
To go into very successful commercialization, flying cars need to be reasonably priced. Advanced air traffic control systems need to be in place along with other needed infrastructure and the vehicles need to have good range on a single charge. In Japan and elsewhere these requirements are being worked on. The Japanese government is pushing hard with a plan for flying cars as a business service by 2023 and greatly expanded commercialization by 2030. SkyDrive is well funded with backers like Toyota, Panasonic among others.