Japan's SkyDrive completes test flight of flying car

Associated Press (AP) has reported Japan´s SkyDrive, Inc. has completed a test flight of a manned flying car at Toyota Test field in Japan, the news source said.

Japan´s SkyDrive Inc. said it hopes its flying car can be made into a real-life product by 2023.

In a video shown to reporters on Friday, August 28, a contraption that looked like a slick motorcycle with propellers lifted several feet off the ground and hovered in a netted area for four minutes.

The machine so far can fly for just 5 to 10 minutes, but if that can become 30 minutes, it will have more potential, including exports to places like China, Fukuzawa said.

Unlike airplanes and helicopters, eVTOL (electric vertical takeoff and landing vehicles) offer quick point-to-point personal travel, in principle, and could do away with the hassle of airports and traffic jams.

Battery sizes, air traffic control, and other infrastructure issues are among the many potential challenges to commercializing them.

The SkyDrive project began in 2012 as a volunteer project called Cartivator, with funding from top Japanese companies, including automaker Toyota Motor Corp., electronics company Panasonic Corp., and video-game developer Bandai Namco.

The project recently received another round of funding of JPY 3.9 billion (USD 37 million), including from the Development Bank of Japan.

Lilium of 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, chief executive of Kitty Hawk, said it took time for airplanes, cell phones, and self-driving cars to win acceptance.