The future of travel may be coming — and sooner than you think! On Aug. 25, the first flying car was successfully tested by SkyDrive Inc., a Japanese company that develops urban air mobility solutions, at a Toyota Test Field in Japan, according to a press release on SkyDrive’s website.
The public demonstration flight lasted a total of four minutes, as the SD-03 flying car model — which measures two meters high, four meters wide and four meters long, and takes up as much ground as two parked cars — circled the 10,000-square-meter (approximately 2.5-acre) field with a pilot at the wheel.
“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 aircraft,” SkyDrive CEO, Tomohiro Fukuzawa, said in a statement. “We aim to take our social experiment to the next level in 2023 and to that end we will be accelerating our technological development and our business development,” Fukuzawa added. “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.”
According to SkyDrive, the pearl white aircraft was “designed to be the world’s smallest electric Vertical Take-Off and Landing (eVTOL) model as a new means of transportation for the near future.”Though the pilot was at the controls and technical staff at the field helped monitor flight conditions and aircraft performance, SkyDrive said the aircraft was also operated by a computer-assisted control system that “helped ensure flight stability and safety.”
The model features a total of eight electric motors in four locations to “ensure safety in emergency situations” and “to address compliance standards and allay potential regulatory concerns,” the company explained. It also includes a pair of propellers and two white lights in front, as well as a red light on the bottom of the body — features that are unique to flying cars and designed to act as indicators for which way the vehicle is traveling while floating in the sky.
“In designing an unexplored, new genre of transportation known as the flying car, we chose the keyword ‘progressive’ for inspiration,” explained SkyDrive design director, Takumi Yamamot. “We wanted this vehicle to be futuristic, charismatic and desirable for all future customers, while fully incorporating the high technology of SkyDrive.”
According to the press release, the company plans on continuing test flights under various conditions to make sure they meet safety and technology standards. They are aiming to obtain approval for flights outside of the Toyota Test Field before the end of 2020, and hope to launch the flying car by 2023, though no price has been announced yet. “SkyDrive’s flying car has been designed to be a coupe embodying dreams and exuding charisma, such that it will be welcomed into people’s lives and used naturally,” the company wrote in the press release.
“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 as a partner in the sky,” they added.