We have all dreamed of flying cars! Imagine swooshing by traffic in the open air unencumbered by ground traffic rules. Now we are a step closer to these dreams thanks to Japan's SkyDrive, a developer of urban air mobility solutions.
On August 25, 2020, the firm conducted a public demonstration flight of its new SD-03 flying car model at the 2.5-acre (10,000-square-meter) Toyota Test Field, one of the largest test fields in Japan.
The flying car managed to circle the field for about four minutes with a pilot on board. The aircraft also benefited from the support of a computer-assisted control system which helps ensure flight stability and safety. You can watch the demonstration in the video below:
The single-seat vehicle has been designed to be the world’s smallest electric Vertical Take-Off and Landing (eVTOL) model measuring only 6.5 ft (2m) tall by 13 ft (4m) wide and 13 ft (4m) long. When taking off, it only requires as little space as two parked cars.
The aircraft also uses eight motors to ensure its safety in emergency situations and sports two white lights in front and a red light running around the bottom of the body. These additions are designed to help observers recognize which way the vehicle is headed when it is flying in the sky.
SkyDrive claims the vehicle has been engineered to be easily embraced by people. "SkyDrive’s flying car has been designed to be a coupe embodying dreams and exuding charisma, such that it will be welcomed into people’s lives and used naturally," reads the firm's press release.
"The company hopes that its aircraft will become people’s partner in the sky rather than merely a commodity and it will continue working to design a safe sky for the future."
SkyDrive also revealed that it will continue field testing the flying car under different conditions to hone its technology and hopefully acquire compliance with the safety provisions of the Civil Aeronautics Act.
After performing additional testing, improving its technology, and ensuring complete compliance with the safety standards, the mobility firm says it hopes to make the flying car a real-life product by 2023.
The future of mobility
They may sound futuristic, but in fact, but from commercial jetpacks to personal air taxis, flying cars are already here, as the above example can attest. Many firms are dreaming of making flying in a car as real as driving in a Tesla through city streets as the globe moves toward the future of mobility.
For instance, Germany-based Volocopter has promoted its VoloCity craft as the world's first commercially certified electrically powered air taxi, a vehicle that will ultimately operate without the need for a pilot, "like an Uber Black or any other premium service."
There is also Terrafugia, founded in 2006 by a team of MIT graduates, which is currently developing two interesting flying car projects. The first is called the Transition which, they believe, will be the world's first practical flying car.
The second project is the TF-X, which they plan to mass-produce in order to revolutionize personal transportation.
There are many more companies that are rapidly progressing in this ever-evolving field, and it looks like within just a few years, we will have cars soaring over our skies considerably sooner than we ever imagined.