Recent flights suggest there might be some sleepless nights ahead for the Toyota team that is developing a flying car. A video shows the aircraft barely taking off before crashing back to earth. 

The team made several attempts to get the prototype into the air, according to the Associated Press, but the craft never made it much higher than eye level. The builders strapped basketballs to the bottom of the craft as cushions for the hard landings. The test flights ended after one meeting with the ground broke the vehicle’s frame and damaged some of the propellers.

Toyota flying car

A group of about 30 Toyota employees calling themselves Cartivator have been developing their Sky Drive flying car (rendered above) off hours since 2012. The automaker recently gave the team 42.5 million yen ($375,290 at current exchange rates) to help the project. Previously, the crew relied largely on crowdfunding for financing the development. Rather than a high-tech lab, Cartivator works from a repurposed elementary school in Toyota City, Japan. 

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Cartivator has successfully flown a 1/5 scale model for the Sky Drive. The company wants to have the full-size version’s design ready by July 2017. The team’s vehicle seats a single person. A bubble-like canopy covers the person, but the sides are open. Propellers at each corner allow for flight, and a trike layout moves the Sky Drive on the ground.

Cartivator has high hopes for the project because the team’s goal is to light the Olympic Flame from a SkyDrive at the opening of the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. The company wants to start selling the vehicle to the public in 2023.

This test flight gives us less hope that the Sky Drive could successfully light the Olympic Flame, but the team still has a few years to get the work done. The video at least shows the vehicle getting into the air. Remember, the Wright Brothers made it 852 feet on their first flight.

Source: Associated Press, Yuri Kageyama Via YouTube, Jalopnik

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