Updated: Sep 1, 2020
SkyDrive, a developer of urban air mobility solutions, has announced that it conducted a public demonstration flight of its new SD-03 flying car model.
It was the first public demonstration of a flying car in Japan. The flight took place at the 10,000-square-meter Toyota Test Field, which is one of the largest test fields in Japan and home to the company’s development base.
The single-seat SD-03 took off in the early evening and circled the 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.
The aircraft has been 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. It measures a compact two meters high by four meters wide and four meters long, and requires only as much space on the ground as two parked cars.
The 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 use of eight motors is a means of ensuring safety in emergency situations during flight and as such aims to address compliance standards and allay potential regulatory concerns.
SkyDrive will continue to conduct test flights under an expanding range of conditions in order to improve its technologies further and achieve full compliance with the safety provisions of the Civil Aeronautics Act. To this end, based on the results of SD-03 testing, it aims to obtain approval for flights outside the limits of the Toyota Test Field before the end of 2020.
Tomohiro Fukuzawa, SkyDrive CEO, said: “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. 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.
“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. We also aspire to develop markets around the world, in collaboration with our partner companies, so that an urban air mobility society with aircraft supplied by SkyDrive becomes a reality not only in Japan but also across the globe.”