Sky Drive Inc. is a Japanese company that recently conducted a successful test flight of its new flying car or as they like to call it, the “SD-03.” The test was conducted at Toyota’s test field, which doubles as their development base.
Тhe flying car, SD-O3, took off and circled the parking lot for almost five minutes before landing successfully. When parked, it takes two parking spaces. For added safety, the SD-O3 features eight motors.
“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… with the goal of commercializing such aircraft,” CEO Tomohiro Fukuzawa said in a statement. “We want to realize a society where flying cars are an accessible and convenient means of transportation in the skies and people are able to experience a safe, secure, and comfortable new way of life.”
Sky Drive was started by a group of volunteers and enthusiasts met in an organization known as Cartivator. They started developing their flying car in 2014. In 2020, they got funding from Japan’s Development Bank and several other investors.
Currently, several other companies are developing flying cars. The list of companies includes Toyota, Airbus, Porsche, and Boeing. Uber and Hyundai are also developing an electric flying car together. So far, there aren’t any reports on their development progress.
Sky Drive executives hope to bring their flying car to market by 2030, and they are very optimistic about it
On the other hand, analysts working in Stanley Morgan expect flying taxis to be widely available by 2040. Tomohiro Fukuzawa, Sky Drive’s CEO, expects the first flying car to have two seats and selling price somewhere between $300,000 and $500,000.
Then there is the academic community that doesn’t share the optimism of the flying car manufacturers. They believe that there are still technical challenges that need to be resolved before we can start even thinking about flying cars’ commercialization. In my opinion, they’re not wrong.
According to Derya Aksaray, a professor of aerospace engineering at the University of Minnesota, there is still a lot of development to be done regarding eVTOL safety. Plus, the flying car needs to be capable of carrying the necessary weight while quietly flying at low altitudes. Ella Atkins, an assistant professor from the University of Michigan, also expressed her concerns about the flying cars, especially regarding fuel efficiency.
All in all, everyone agrees that we are on the brink of a new mobility revolution, and we are at the beginning stages. So, flying cars are coming soon. But from the look of things, only those with deep pockets will be able to afford them. After all, $300,000 or $500,000 is no pocket money, by any means.