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Japan Moves Forward with Air Taxis and Flying Cars

SkyDrive concept eVTOL
SkyDrive's SD-XX eVTOL concept model will fly in Japan in the summer of 2020. ©SkyDrive/CARTIVATOR

One hundred Japanese and international corporations have agreed to help eVTOL air taxis become a reality in Japan by 2023 and automated cars that can fly by 2030. The companies are sponsoring SkyDrive Inc., a developer of urban air mobility solutions and joint developer CARTIVATOR Resource Management.

Support will be in the form of financial and engineering assistance in addition to human resources.

Corporate sponsors include NEC, Panasonic, YAZAKI, Joyson Safety Systems Japan, MIZUNO, and Sony PCL, among others.




SkyDrive’s SD-XX Concept eVTOL

CARTIVATOR launched in Tokyo in 2012 as a startup made up of volunteer automotive, aviation, and drone engineers who worked to develop ideas for eVTOLs. It founded SkyDrive in 2018 to turn concepts into reality.

Outdoor manned test flights of SkyDrive’s SD-XX model began in 2019. The technical verification phase of controllability and flight stability in windy conditions was completed in March 2020.

“We are extremely excited by the steady improvements that SkyDrive has achieved with its series of test flights,” said Masahisa Shibata, senior managing executive officer of Panasonic, one of the sponsoring companies. “I really hope that the company’s flying car will take off and drive away the gloom caused by the COVID-19 pandemic!”

A piloted flight demonstration will be held for the Japanese public during the summer of 2020. The flight was originally scheduled for the Tokyo Summer Olympics, which has been postponed due to COVID-19.

The two-person eVTOL prototype is about 13’ long, 11’ wide, and 4.9’ high. Its current flight range is 12 to 19 miles at 62 mph.

SkyDrive is currently focused on working to meet the aircraft safety and security standards needed to obtain aircraft certification from Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism.

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AAM.today Staff

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