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SkyDrive Launches Japan’s First Test Flight of Manned “Flying Car”

SkyDrive Inc. started in December 2019 to conduct a test flight of a manned “flying car,” the first of its kind in Japan.

SkyDrive is a start-up company comprised of aircraft, drone and automobile engineers to develop, manufacture and sell “flying cars.” 

In May 2019, SkyDrive entered into an agreement with Toyota City in Aichi Prefecture. The deal makes it possible to dramatically boost the speed of the development as it allows for the use of the city’s 10,000-square-meter development base, including an indoor flight test facility, one of the largest in Japan. 

SkyDrive intends to contribute to the creation of a new mobility society by conducting test flights of manned flying cars safely with the utmost care, paving the way for a demonstration flight in the summer of 2020 and the start of sales in 2023.

– About flying cars

Major characteristics of flying cars are electrically motorizing, fully autonomous automatic driving, and vertical take-off and landing capabilities. Aerial mobility using flying cars is considered to become more common because their operational costs are cheaper and their noise is lower than those of existing aircraft, and their take-off and landing facilities are compact. The size of the global market for flying cars is expected to reach 150 trillion yen in 2040, and therefore it is one of the next-generation industries. In developed countries, flying cars are expected to be used as a means of transportation to ease traffic jams and respond in times of disaster, while in developing countries they are likely to be used as a form of transportation that requires far less infrastructure.

– About manned test flights

SkyDrive plans to acquire official permission for outdoor test flights after conducting flight experiments indoors. As for the recently launched test flights, the company has simulated various cases, including those of flight altitudes, flight forms, failed conditions and emergency landing, and will verify safety, confirm operations and conduct a series of flight experiments while gradually going through complicated moves and flights.

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