Japan’s most recent project for a proper flying car was established in May 2017 with the goal to provide a vehicle that will light the Olympic Flame during the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. The event was postponed to 2021 due to the global coronavirus pandemic which basically means the team has an extra year to finalize the project. The good news is the first test run of the machine finally took place in Japan last week.
In an official press release, the team of Toyota engineers, which calls itself SkyDrive, informs us that it has conducted a demonstration flight of its SD-03 vehicle on August 25 at Toyota’s 10,000-square-meter (approximately 2.5-acre) test field. This marks the first public demonstration of a flying vehicle in Japan’s history.
“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,” Tomohiro Fukuzawa, CEO of SkyDrive, comments. “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.”
According to the information released by the firm, the flying machine circled the area for approximately four minutes and was controlled by an operator which was assisted by a computer control system. SkyDrive says “the aircraft has been designed to be the world’s smallest electric Vertical Take-Off and Landing (eVTOL)” and to us, this description pretty much says it directly that this isn’t actually a car but rather a small aircraft.
The construction of the machine includes eight electric motors driving rotors deployed in four positions. SkyDrive says further test flights are planned for later this year and the company even plans to make first flights outside the test ground area by the end of 2020.