After decades of attempts, engineers refuse to give up on building a convenient flying car.
A group of about 30 Toyota employees calling themselves Cartivator have been developing a flying car during their off hours since 2012, and now the automaker has decided to give them 42.5 million yen ($375,290 at current exchange rates) for really getting the project off the ground.
Until now, Cartivator had largely used online crowdfunding for financing the projecting, according to the Nikkei Asian Review, and Toyota has been unwilling to invest money into the undertaking. The firm finally changed its mind, though. “Things will not progress if you wait and provide money only when the technology is ready,” Chairman Takeshi Uchiyamada told the Nikkei Asian Review.
When not working for Toyota, the Cartivator team’s headquarters is a former elementary school in Aichi Prefecture, Japan. Toyota City offered to let the team use the building when the school shut down. A 1/5 scale model of their flying car now takes test flights around the old schoolyard.
Cartivator plans to show the design for its full flying car, which it calls SkyDrive, in July 2017. The current prototype wouldn’t work as much more than a curiosity. It seats a single person in a bubble-like canopy, but the sides are open. Rotors at each corner allow for flight, and a trike layout with two wheels on the side and one in front allows for travel on the ground.
The performance targets for the SkyDrive would allow it to fly at up to 62 miles per hour (100 kilometers per hour) and drive at up to 93 mph (150 kph). Cartivator wants to fly a remotely piloted version by July 2018, and put a manned version in the air by the end of that year. The team’s lofty goal is to be far enough along by the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo to light the Olympic Flame from a SkyDrive.
Gallery: Toyota Transforming Flying Car Patent
Toyota apparently sees merit in the flying car because in addition to funding Cartivator, the company also has a patent for a different design (above) from two of its employees in the United States. The weird design is hard to imagine in the air, though.
14th May 2017
General Incorporated Association
CARTIVATOR Resource Management
Flying Car from Japan to Light the Tokyo Olympic Flame!
CARTIVATOR Resource Management backed by 15 Toyota Group companies
General Incorporated Association CARTIVATOR Resource Management (CRM) (Head Office: Shinjuku, Tokyo, Representative Director: Tomohiro Fukuzawa) which operates “CARTIVATOR” – a development activity of the flying car from Japan have secured financial support of 42.5 million yen (approx. $375,000USD) over the next 3 years from 15 Toyota Group companies including Toyota Motor Corporation (Head Office: Toyota, Aichi, President: Akio Toyoda). This financial support will be used to promote CARTIVATOR’s development.
■Young Engineers Tackle Challenges, Accelerating Development towards 2020
CARTIVATOR is a flying car development activity that is run by a team of volunteer young engineers and professionals involved in startup scenes. One of the Toyota Group’s founding principle “Monozukuri wa Hitozukuri” (which translates to “Developing people through craft of making things”), has led 15 Group companies to support CARTIVATOR. With the funds received, the work is on to further accelerate engineering development to achieve CRM’s aim to light the flame with a flying car at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic/Paralympic Opening Ceremony.
■ Comments from Tsubasa Nakamura (CARTIVATOR Technical Lead)
On this occasion, we received support as we were working towards a full-scale model. I would like to thank all those that have supported us until now and to extend a heart-felt thank you to our new supporters from the Toyota Group. This activity is an effort to make a dream vehicle -a flying car that gives dreams which connects to the next generation, with members spending time working outside office hours. Development continues daily to realize the lighting of the Olympic flame to give dreams and aspiration to people all over the world. By end of 2018, we plan to complete a manned prototype vehicle with the funds received this time. Please be sure to pay attention to our movement from now. Finally, for those that want to be part of the team, come join us and let’s realize this dream together!
■ 15 Toyota Group Companies Supporting CRM
Toyota Industries Corporation
Toyota Motor Corporation
Aichi Steel Corporation
Toyota Auto Body Co.,Ltd.
Toyota Tsusho Corporation
Aisin Seiki Co., Ltd
Toyota Boshoku Corporation
Toyota Central R&D Labs., Inc.
Toyoda Gosei Co., Ltd
Hino Motors, Ltd.
Daihatsu Motor Co., Ltd
Toyota Housing Corporation
Toyota Motor Kyushu, Inc
■ About the Flying Car Development Activity “CARTIVATOR”
A volunteer activity that is developing the flying car from Japan with a mission of “Connecting dreams to the next generation through mobility”. Launched in 2012, current activities and targets include a debut at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics/Paralympics and the first model release in 2025. CRM are handling financial and organizational management and activities/development proceeded by volunteer young engineers and professionals involved in startup scenes.
(Development Activity Lead)
Associate Professor Miwa Masafumi
Tokushima University Graduate School of Social Industry Science and Engineering
Associate Professor Koichi Mori
Department of Aerospace Engineering, Nagoya University Graduate School of Engineering
Mitsuhisa Kato, Director of Toyota Motor Corporation
Tomihisa Kamada, CEO of TomyK Ltd.
Taizo Son, CEO of Mistletoe Inc.
■ About General Incorporated Association CARTIVATOR Resource Management
General Incorporated Association CARTIVATOR Resource Management
#1404, 8-1 Okubo 3 Chōme, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo
(Major sponsor companies)
Miya Electronics Corporation
FUTURE HOUSE Lab.