TOYOTA CITY, JAPAN, Sept. 26, 2022 — SkyDrive Inc. today unveiled the design of its commercial model flying car — the SkyDrive SD-05. SkyDrive is planning to use the SD-05, currently in development, to launch air taxi service in the Osaka Bay area during the world exposition scheduled for 2025 in Osaka, Japan.
“This is another big step towards the realization of flying cars and sky roads,” said Takumi Yamamoto, SkyDrive design director. “Two years have passed since the announcement of the SD-03, which successfully completed its public manned flight test in August 2020, and we are very happy to be able to announce its successor, the SD-05.”
Headquartered in Toyota City, Aichi Prefecture, SkyDrive is a leading developer and manufacturer of flying cars1 and cargo drones in Japan.
Video of the SD-05 Commercial Model
Title: 【SkyDrive】SD-05: Zero Emission Flying Vehicle
The SD-05 is a two-seat, electric-powered compact aircraft with vertical takeoff and landing capabilities. Operated by a driver-pilot, its flight stability is secured with the assistance of a computer-controlled flight system. SkyDrive is developing flying cars with an eye toward realizing a world where they are used in daily life for air mobility much as automobiles are used for daily ground transportation.
“This vehicle is not just a simple means of traveling from point A to B,” Yamamoto said. “Based on the design concept of ‘giving wings to daily travel,’ it’s also a safer and more enjoyable travel partner.”
SkyDrive is in the process of acquiring a type certificate2 for the SD-05 from the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT), as the first of its kind in Japan. The company continues to work toward initiating practical use of flying cars during the World Exposition Osaka, Kansai scheduled for 2025 in Japan. The SD-05 is designed to travel up to approx. 10 km and the maximum cruise speed is 100 km/h. However, design and specifications are subject to change and the progress of design development.
Potential Applications for SD-05 Now Being Considered
１．A transit option where a short-cut is needed due to geographical conditions or existing public transportation is detoured.
In the Osaka Bay area, where numerous tourist attractions are located, bodies of water sometimes prevent or hinder direct access by public transportation. Getting from one tourist venue to another can be difficult and time-consuming, in some cases taking as long as 40 minutes to travel just one kilometer as the swallow flies. However, the SD-05 makes the trip in just in five minutes and is expected to provide a more efficient and enjoyable choice for transportation.
２．Unique access to resort facilities.
Rising quietly into the sky, the flying car offers an unprecedented mode of travel that offers a great view from high above. Traveling to and from a resort destination — especially one in a remote or unusual location — can be an extraordinary experience.
３．Emergency medical services
The SD-05 is more compact, lighter, and quieter than helicopters. Being able to take off and land in a small space, including on a rooftop, the SD-05 is expected to assist medical workers who must travel quickly to provide needed assistance.
“SkyDrive will continue to design the dreams of the future with the aim of realizing sky roads,” said Yamamoto. SkyDrive is also moving to promote its business operations not only in Japan but also outside the country. In the U.S., for example, the company has set up an office in September 2022, for the purpose of providing a means of “last mile” air transportation. The company has been developing the market jointly with local authorities and partner companies.
Exterior Design of SD-05
As with SkyDrive’s single-seat SD-03 manned prototype aircraft, “progressive” (pioneering and advanced) is the term used to describe the design of the SD-05, which SkyDrive believes is an appropriate descriptor for a new genre of transportation. Viewing the fuselage, or body, of the aircraft from the side, an S-shaped contour suggests a pair of propellers lifting off into the sky. Looking down on the craft from above, you see the shape of a pearl-white swallow, a small but agile bird able to soar to great heights.
The aerodynamically advanced airframe design is informed by studies of the streamlined shapes of birds and animals, and features both horizontal and vertical tails for added stability in flight. At the top corners of the airframe, 12 motor-propeller units are positioned for flight stability. These reflect flight control technology acquired through more than 1,000 flight tests conducted during development of the airframe.
For the SD-05, specialists from SkyDrive and its partners have worked together in collaboration with JAMCO Corporation3, an aircraft interior maker; Toray Carbon Magic Co., Ltd.4, a provider of advanced Carbon Fiber Reinforcement Plastics (CFRP); and Electric Power Systems Inc.5, a leading developer of battery systems that include high-power powertrains for electrified aircraft that are eligible for type certification.
With its mission to lead a once-in-a-century mobility revolution, SkyDrive is developing safer, more secure flying cars through development and repeated demonstration tests of the SD-05 commercial model, leading to a future where air transportation is part of daily life.
“We look forward to seeing everyone at the Osaka Expo in 2025,” Design Director Yamamoto said.
1 Flying cars, called generally eVTOL (electric vertical takeoff and landing) aircraft outside Japan, are characterized by electrification, a fully autonomous autopilot, and vertical takeoff and landing. A new advancement in the field of mobility, the development of flying cars is being promoted globally. In Japan, the Public-Private Council for Air Mobility Revolution was established in 2018 for that purpose. The project is expected to lead to taxi services in urban areas, new means of transportation for remote islands and mountainous areas, and emergency transport in times of disaster. A roadmap formulated by the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry (METI) and the MLIT anticipates the start of business in the mid-2020s.
2 SkyDrive Press Release on agreement on basis for flying car type certification with MLIT
3 SkyDrive Press Release on collaboration with JAMCO Corporation
https://skydrive2020.com/archives/9549 (Only available in Japanese)
4 SkyDrive Press Release on collaboration with Toray Carbon Magic Co., Ltd https://en.skydrive2020.com/archives/6424
5 SkyDrive Press Release on collaboration with Electric Power Systems Inc