Tokyo Flying Car Company Becomes First Company to Lift Vehicle Several Meters Above Ground

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A Japanese company successfully performed a test flight of a “flying car” after its vehicle lifted the test pilot into the air.

SkyDrive is one of many companies working on the development of a “flying car”, but their project took a step in the right direction after successfully lifting their vehicle several feet off the ground.

In one video, SkyDrive’s car hovered in the air with a passenger inside for four minutes.

Tomohiro Fukuzawa is the head of SkyDrive and he hopes to have a full product by 2023.

SkyDrive is one of many companies working to develop a ‘flying car’, but their project took a step in the right direction after successfully lifting their vehicle several meters above the ground (pictured)

He said: “Of the more than 100 flying car projects around the world, only a handful have been successful with someone on board.

“I hope a lot of people will want to ride it and feel safe.

Mr. Fukuzawa said that if his team can increase the time his vehicle can spend in the air from five to ten minutes to even 30 minutes, the project will offer potentials such as exporting goods to China.

The ‘flying car’ uses Evtol (electric vertical takeoff and landing) to move between positions and it is believed that this would help eliminate airport hassles and traffic jams in the future.

In addition to the increase in airtime, other challenges facing the project include battery size, air traffic control, and infrastructure issues.

In a video, SkyDrive's Evtol car hovered in the air with a passenger inside for four minutes

In a video, SkyDrive’s Evtol car hovered in the air with a passenger inside for four minutes

The SkyDrive project attempted another flight three years ago, which ended badly, but recent funding of around £ 27.8 billion from the Development Bank of Japan has helped advance their works.

Sanjiv Singh is a professor at the Institute of Robotics at Carnegie Mellon University who co-founded Near Earth Autonomy in Pittsburgh and his team is also working on an Evtol vehicle.

He said: “If they cost $ 10 million, no one will buy them. If they fly for five minutes, no one will buy them. If they fall from the sky every now and then, no one will buy them.

Lilium from Germany, Joby Aviation in California and Wisk, a joint venture between Boeing and Kitty Hawk, are also working on Evtol projects.

The SkyDrive project attempted another flight three years ago, which ended badly, but recent funding of around £ 27.8 billion from the Development Bank of Japan has helped advance their works.

The SkyDrive project attempted another flight three years ago, which ended badly, but recent funding of around £ 27.8 billion from the Development Bank of Japan has helped advance their works.

Sebastian Thrun, managing director of Kitty Hawk, said it took time for planes, cellphones and self-driving cars to be accepted.

He said: “But the time between technology and social adoption could be compressed more for evtol vehicles. “

SkyDrive started in 2012 as a volunteer project called Cartivator which received funding from companies such as Toyota, Panasonic and video game developer Bandai Namco.

The Japanese government is optimistic about the ‘Jetsons’ vision, with a ‘roadmap’ for business services by 2023 and expanded commercial use by the 2030s, highlighting its potential to connect remote areas and provide lifesavers in the event of a disaster.

Experts compare the buzz around flying cars to the days when the aviation industry started with the Wright brothers and the auto industry with the Ford Model T.

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