Among the development of Unmanned Aerial Vehicle technology, manned flying cars are the most difficult, because their safety is vital. However, there are still many companies committed to promoting this urban air mobility program, like the Russian company Hoversurf, and we posted their Hover Drone Taxi not long ago.
A Japanese startup company, Sky Drive Inc, has made a first public test flight with people on board of their SD-03 SkyDrive manned flight model last summer. This flying car, which is small in size, probably to reduce its own weight, equips with eight propellers and two seats. It can take off and land vertically and can reach a maximum speed of about 31mph. To me, the overall appearance is very much like an enlarged drone.
This public demonstration was held at the Toyota test site, which is also the first public demonstration of a flying car in Japan’s history. It was piloted by a pilot and took off and hovered around the site for about four minutes. The test site is one of the largest in Japan and is also Toyota’s research and development base.
Sky Drive Inc’s CEO said, “We are very pleased to have achieved the first-ever manned flying car test flight in Japan within two years. And Our final goal is to put in mass-production. We want to help to achieve a society where flying cars become a popular and convenient means of air transportation and where people can experience a new way of life that is safe, reliable and comfortable.”
What’s more, SkyDrive has recently launched a concept model SD-XX, which is smaller than its predecessor, with a length of 13.1ft, a width of 11.5ft, and a height of 4.9ft. Its maximum speed reaches up to 37mph. Sky Drive Inc hoped this car to be trully futuristic and attractive for all customers, while fully integrating SkyDrive’s developed technology.
The success of this flight means that the car will likely be tested outside of Toyota’s base by the end of this year, with the possibility of mass-production in 2023.