SkyDrive’s DS-03 electric flight model performed a passenger test flight on August 25 at Toyota Stadium in Aichi.
Japanese flying car carrying people successfully SD-03 flight test at low altitude. Video: New Atlas.
The flying vehicle has a vertical landing at SD-03 with the size of 4 x 4 x 2 m. The body is painted pearl white with white H-shaped lights on the front and red T-shaped lights at the back. SD-03 is equipped with 4 sets of rotors that rotate in opposite directions, with a slightly curved shield to help ensure safety. Each rotor operates on its own electric motor.
Even with the pilot operating on the console, the computer system still controls stability and safety in flight. In the video shared by the company, the flying car fitted with propellers takes off 1 – 2 meters from the ground and floats in a covered area for 4 minutes.
Tomohiro Fukuzawa, chief executive officer of SkyDrive, hopes the flying car model can go into service by 2023. Currently, the machine can fly short distances in 5 – 10 minutes, but if the operating time is increased to 30 minutes, it has the potential to export to many other countries.
Unlike airplanes and helicopters, electric take-off and vertical takeoffs provide rapid personal traffic, reducing traffic congestion and pilot hiring costs thanks to its autonomous flight capabilities. However, battery pack size, air traffic control and infrastructure issues are among the challenges to product commercialization.
At first, SkyDrive was born as a volunteer project called Cartivator in 2012, with funding from leading Japanese companies such as Toyota, Panasonic and Bandai Namco. The flight performed three years ago with poor results. However, the flying car model has improved a lot and received a new investment capital of 37 million USD from the Japan Development Bank.