A startup in Japan has conducted a public demonstration of battery-powered flying cars for the first time. SkyDrive Inc’s new SD-03 flying car model still needs some improvement but the company is hopeful of starting its service for the public in 2023. It envisions that everyday commuting will be done by drone-like vehicles by the year 2030. These vehicles will drive on city roads before taking off like a helicopter. There is some tough competition in the field of vehicles which are generally referred to as aeromobiles or air taxis. Japan is lagging behind companies in the United States, Germany, and China in developing the technology.
SkyDrive conducted the test flight of its new care model at the approximately 2.5-acre Toyota Test Field, the largest in Japan. The single-seat 880-pound test vehicle was in the air for around four minutes. A pilot was at the controls but the computer-assisted control system ensured the smooth flight. Meanwhile, the technical staff was monitoring the performance of aircraft and flight conditions at all times. The aircraft is apparently the world’s smallest electric Vertical Take-Off and Landing (eVTOL) model and takes space of two usual cars. According to developers, they eventually hope to include wheels so that the vehicles could be driven easily into a garage. Chief Executive Tomohiro Fukuzawa said the whole aim behind the concept is to develop something that someone could use easily on a daily basis.
There are 8 electric motors that drive rotors fixed at four locations. Each position has two rotors that individually rotate in the opposite direction. Eight motors have been used to ensure the highest safety in case of emergency. The vehicle is so far in position to fly for only five to ten minutes. Fukuzawa said that the machine will have more potential if this time can be increased to 30 minutes. SkyDrive is planning to conduct several such test flights under an expanding range of conditions in order to improve its features.