We always look forward to what the future world will look like, and look forward to the way of transportation in the future world. Cars flying in the sky are as simple as driving on a highway. Although the car can fly, this kind of thing has always only appeared in science fiction movies, but now with the development of technology, this kind of vision may no longer be so illusory.
Recently, a Japanese startup company demonstrated for the first time a battery-powered flying car SkyDrive, and hopes to be put into use in 2023.
The company’s car on display in the mountains of Toyota City has only one seat, driven by an engineer from the company, and driving at a speed of less than 3 miles per hour. Since SkyDrive has not yet obtained permission to test outdoors, this demonstration was carried out in a cage.
Global competition has intensified in the field of transportation such as air taxis, flying cars, or electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft.
Although Japan lags behind American, German, and Chinese companies in developing this technology, SkyDrive said its plan is different from other companies because it eventually wants to install wheels on cars so that it can be driven into the home garage.
The company’s CEO Tomohiro Fukuzawa, who worked for Toyota Motor Corporation and founded SkyDrive in 2018, said: “We hope it will become a product that people can easily use every day.”
At present, SkyDrive has completed the second round of financing, with a total of about 37 million U.S. dollars in investment from the Development Bank of Japan Inc., NEC Corp. and other institutions.
The company plans to launch a service in Osaka in 2023 to transport tourists between tourist attractions. The plan calls for a two-seater car with a pilot and a paying passenger. By the 2030s, the company envisioned using drone-like transportation to and from get off work every day.
Future Flying Car Plan
Last Wednesday (August 26), the Japanese government and the private sector proposed a plan for the development of future flying cars, hoping that cars that will fly in the air in the future will be available as soon as possible.
The goal of the plan is to draw up a road map for the commercialization of flying cars by the end of this year, a concept that has so far remained at a theoretical level. Japanese government officials are working with companies such as Boeing and Airbus, as well as major Japanese companies such as All Nippon Airways, Japan Airlines, NEC, and Toyota-backed Cartivator.
Shinji Tokumasu, a Japanese trade official, said: “(Flying cars) are expected to solve traffic problems in remote islands or mountainous areas, or play a role in disaster relief operations and cargo transportation. We initiated this public-private meeting to foster a new industry and let It is profitable in the world market.”
In Japan, a group of engineers involved in the Cartivator project is already developing a three-wheeled sci-fi car that relies on drone technology to fly. Cartivator hopes to launch a manned prototype before the end of 2019 to ignite the Olympic flame when the Olympic Games are held in Tokyo, the capital of Japan.
Japan is not alone in the flying car market. Other companies, including ride-sharing service Uber, and a Silicon Valley startup reportedly backed by Google co-founder Larry Page, are preparing to build a flying car system that allows people to travel through the city.
Not long ago, British engine manufacturer Rolls Royce also announced plans to develop hybrid electric vehicles, known as “flying taxis”, and Kitty Hawk asked interested parties to purchase the company’s cars in June. Of people provided flight test services.
Unlike airplanes and helicopters, vehicles that can take off and land vertically can get rid of airport troubles and traffic jams and the cost of hiring pilots, but battery size, air traffic control and other infrastructure issues are one of the many potential challenges for commercialization of the project.
Sanjiv Singh, a professor at the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University, is the co-founder of Near Earth Autonomy near Pittsburgh, which is also developing an eVTOL (electric vertical take-off and landing). ) Airplanes, he said: “A lot of things have to happen. If you spend 10 million dollars, no one will buy them; if they only fly for 5 minutes, no one will buy them; if they often fall from the sky, then No one will buy it.”
SkyDrive manned aircraft
The SkyDrive project started in 2012. It was originally a volunteer project called Cartivator. It was funded by top Japanese companies, including the car manufacturer—Toyota Motor Corp., and the electronics company—Panasonic Corp.) And video game developer Bandai Namco (Bandai Namco).
Three years ago, the SkyDrive project experienced a test flight failure, but the situation has improved recently, and a new round of financing of 3.9 billion yen (37 million US dollars) has been obtained. The Japanese government is also optimistic about the vision of flying cars-to develop a “road map” for commercial services by 2023, and to expand commercial use by the 1930s, emphasizing its potential in connecting remote areas and providing lifelines in disasters.
According to reports, this manned aircraft called SkyDrive is equipped with four sets of propellers, measuring 2.9 meters (9.5 feet) in length and 1.3 meters in width. Its goal is to become the world’s smallest flying car.
Among the countless “flying car” projects around the world, Japan’s SkyDrive project has carried out a successful but small-scale manned test flight. In a video broadcast on August 28, an ingenious device that looked like a skater motorcycle with a propeller took 1 to 2 meters off the ground and hovered for 4 minutes.
Tomohiro Fukuzawa, who is in charge of the SkyDrive project, said that he hopes this “flying car” will become a real product by 2023, but he also admits that ensuring its safety is of utmost importance, so continuous testing is needed.
“Of the more than 100 flying car projects in the world, only a few have succeeded with human participation. I hope that many people will want to ride it and feel safe.” Fukuzawa said that so far, this aircraft can only fly in 5 to 10 minutes, but if it can reach 30 minutes, it will have greater potential, including exports to China and other countries.
As the electric flying car project became more and more popular, some people compared the sensation caused by flying cars with the era when the Wright brothers created the aviation industry and the Ford Model T created the automobile industry.
Kitty Hawk Corp. CEO Sebastian Thrun said that aircraft, mobile phones and self-driving cars will take time to win recognition, but for eVTOL cars, the time interval between technology and applications may be shorter”
Perhaps soon, the full popularity of flying cars will not be a problem. In science fiction movies, the travel tools that have opened up their minds, and even other high-tech products will become reality and gradually come into our lives.