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SkyDrive's SD-03 flying car model
SkyDrive's SD-03 flying car model

Future of mobility: Japan's flying car conducts first public manned flight

  • Japan's SkyDrive's new SD-03 flying car model flew over a 10,000-square-meter Toyota Test Field for about four minutes.

As the world leaps towards the future of mobility, many companies dream of making flying in a car as real as being driving down the city streets.

With one more step towards this reality, Japan's SkyDrive - an urban air mobility solutions company, has successfully conducted the country's first manned public demonstration of a flying car.

SkyDrive's new SD-03 flying car model flew over a 10,000-square-meter Toyota Test Field for about four minutes. A pilot was at the controls but a computer-assisted control system helped ensure flight stability and safety while technical staff at the field monitored flight conditions and aircraft performance at all times as backup.

(Also read: This 'Made in Israel' flying car aims to be Uber in the sky)

The slick motorcycle-like vehicle with propellers has been designed to be the world’s smallest electric Vertical Take-Off and Landing (eVTOL) model and a new means of transportation for the near future. "SkyDrive wants to realize a society where flying cars are an accessible and convenient means of transportation in the skies," says CEO Tomohiro Fukuzawa.

SD-03 flying car's powertrain consists of electric motors that drive rotors deployed in four locations, with each location housing two rotors that individually rotate in opposite directions, each driven by its own motor. The aircraft has two white lights in front and a red light running around the bottom of the body for easy determination of the direction that the vehicle is headed to when floating in the sky.

(Also read: Tesla flight? Elon Musk says electric batteries for aviation are just four years)

The mobility company says that it aims to make the flying car into a real-life product by 2023 after conducting more tests, developing technologies and achieving full compliance with the safety provisions.

The machine so far can fly for just five to 10 minutes but if that can become 30 minutes, "it will have more potential, including exports to places like China", Fukuzawa was quoted as saying by the Associated Press.

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