Japan’s “Flying Cars” Starts with one Person on Board

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Japan’s “flying cars” starts with one person on board

 

The Japanese company SkyDrive Inc., one of the myriad “Flying Vehicle” projects around the world, conducted a successful but humble test flight with one person on board.

This photo, taken in early August 2020 and posted by © SkyDrive / CARTIVATOR 2020, shows a test flight of a manned “flying car” at Toyota’s Toyota test field in central Japan. Japanese company SkyDrive Inc.,

one of the myriad of “flying cars” projects around the world, conducted a successful but humble test flight with one person on board. (© SkyDrive / CARTIVATOR 2020 via AP)

The decades-long dream of orbiting the sky as easily as driving the road may become less illusory.

The Japanese company SkyDrive Inc. carried out a successful but modest test flight with one person on board among the countless “Flying Car” projects around the world.

In a video shown to reporters on Friday, a vehicle that looked like a slippery motorcycle with propellers rose several feet (1 to 2 meters) above the ground and hovered in a mesh area for four minutes.

Tomohiro Fukuzawa, who leads the SkyDrive effort, hoped the “flying car” could become a real product by 2023, but acknowledged the importance of making it safe.

This photo, taken in early August 2020 and posted by © SkyDrive / CARTIVATOR 2020, shows a test flight of a manned “flying car” at the Toyota test field at Toyota in central Japan.

The Japanese company SkyDrive Inc. carried out a successful but modest test flight with one person on board among the innumerable “Flying Car” projects worldwide.

(© SkyDrive / CARTIVATOR 2020 via AP)

(Out of  more than  100 air  vehicle  projects  around  the   world,  few have  succeeded with someone on board,) he told The Associated Press.

“I hope a lot of people want to ride it and feel safe.” So far the machine can only fly five to ten minutes, but if that can be converted into 30 minutes it will have more potential, including exporting to countries like China, Fukuzawa said.

In contrast to airplanes and helicopters, eVTOL or electric vertical take-off and landing, vehicles offer, at least in principle, a fast personal point-to-point trip.

You could end the hassle of airports and traffic jams and fly automatically at the expense of hiring pilots.

Battery size, air traffic control, and other infrastructure issues are among the many potential challenges for commercialization.

“A lot has to happen,” said Sanjiv Singh, professor at Carnegie Mellon University’s Robotics Institute, co-founder of Near Earth Autonomy near Pittsburgh, who is also working on an eVTOL aircraft.

“If they cost $ 10 million, nobody will buy them.

If they fly for 5 minutes, no one will buy them.

If  fall  the sky every now and then, no one will buy them, ”said Singh in a telephone interview.

The SkyDrive project humbly began as a volunteer project called Cartivator in 2012, which was run by major Japanese companies like automaker Toyota Motor Corp.

and electronics company Panasonic Corp. was funded. and video game developer Bandai Namco.

A demonstration flight three years ago went wrong. But it has improved, and the project recently received another round of funding, 3.9 billion yen ($ 37 million), also from Japan’s Development Bank.

The Japanese government is optimistic about the “Jetsons” vision, with a “roadmap” for business services by 2023 and expanded commercial use by 2030 highlighting their potential to connect remote areas and provide lifeguards. in the event of a disaster.

Experts compare the craze for flying cars to the beginning of the aircraft industry with the Wright brothers and the auto industry with the Ford Model T.

Lilium from Germany, Joby Aviation in California and Wisk, a joint venture between Boeing Co.( and Kitty Hawk Corp., are  also  working on  eVTOL  projects. )

Sebastian Thrun, CEO of Kitty Hawk, said it took time for planes, cell phones and self-driving cars to be accepted.

“But the time between technology and social acceptance could be shorter for eVTOL vehicles,” he said.

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