Japan’s SkyDrive car | Flying taxi in 2023

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The future of flying to work may be closer to you and me. Toyota, NEC, Panasonic and many other Japanese giants co-sponsored SkyDrive, a newly created SkyDrive, announced the first manned flight test at the weekend.

Although the test was only conducted at a low altitude of about 3 meters, and the flight time was only about 5 minutes, it still created an important milestone in the history of flying car development. Its flying car SD-03 successfully reached a manned space on Toyota’s test flight field. The mission to lift off.

Although the flying car is currently only in the testing phase and there are no successful commercialization cases around the world, more and more people are optimistic about its future development. Morgan Stanley’s research pointed out that the global electric flying vehicle (eVTOL) market will reach 1.4 trillion to 2.9 trillion US dollars in 20 years.

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Fukuzawa Chihiro, founder of SkyDrive, also believes that by 2050, everyone can ride a flying car and fly freely in the Tokyo metropolitan area.

Two years after its establishment, it was sponsored by hundreds of companies. SkyDrive aims to launch a flying taxi service in 2023.

SkyDrive is a start-up company born out of the flying car development volunteer group Cartivator. The founder Fukuzawa Chihiro is also the co-founder of Cartivator. Cartivator began to invest in flying car research and development in 2014. Since it is not a company, its operation has always relied on crowdfunding. In 2017, it was sponsored by Toyota 40 million yen (about NT$11.02 million). Japanese game developer Gungho also Provide 2.5 million yen.

In order to accelerate the realization of the dream of building an electric car, Fukuzawa Zhihao went further and established SkyDrive with Cartivator’s partners in 2018. In just two years since its establishment, SkyDrive has been sponsored by 100 companies such as NEC and Panasonic, and has received 1.5 billion yen from ITOCHU Technology, Drone Fund, Strive, etc. This year, it has also revealed that it has received financial assistance from many investors including the Japan Policy and Investment Bank. .

SkyDrive’s goal is to develop the smallest flying car among more than 100 flying car projects in the world, aiming at the commuter business opportunities in metropolitan areas. Its flying car is about 4 meters in length and 2 meters in height, and can be parked in two spaces. Adjacent parking space.

For example, the successful test flight of the SD-03 has only one seat, but with this successful experience, SkyDrive plans to develop a two-seater version in 2023 to increase the flight speed, and a fully automatic version will be launched in 2028.

At present, the endurance of SkyDrive is only about 10 minutes, but Fukuzawa Chihiro expects that it can be increased to 30 minutes in the future, which is enough to meet the needs of short-distance traffic.

However, even if the ultimate goal is to provide services to urban residents, SkyDrive expects that the service will only provide maritime flight routes at the beginning of the service, focusing on attractions near Osaka Bay, such as Universal Studios, Kaiyukan, etc. Fukuzawa believes that it will suddenly enter the population Too adventurous in a dense city.

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Tesla CEO Elon. When Elon Musk discussed why he chose to dig a tunnel to solve the traffic congestion problem in the past, he also mentioned that the flying car would generate serious noise and wind pressure, and no one would want it to pass over his head.

Fukuzawa Chihiro estimated that the price of the flying car may be as high as 300,000 to 500,000 US dollars in the early stage, and it is expected to gradually decline after 2030.

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Sky becomes a solution to traffic congestion, and companies actively invest in flying car development.

Although Feitian has no successful business case so far, all parts of the world are intensively engaged in development. The German startup Lilium completed the first unmanned test flight of its flying car last year, and is expected to launch a global transportation service in 2025.

Riley, co-founder of Google. Kitty Hawk, founded by Larry Page, has also shifted the strategic direction of home entertainment and devoted itself to larger-scale flying vehicles aimed at transportation. Last year, it also cooperated with Boeing to establish the flying taxi program “Cora.”

Even major automobile manufacturers have begun to participate in the war. Toyota invested $400 million in flying car company Joby Aviation this year, claiming that the aviation business has always been the company’s long-term development direction. Joby Aviation is also Uber’s partner in building flying taxis.

As the roads become more crowded, many companies are beginning to look to the sky. Perhaps in the next 20 or 30 years, the traffic scene we are now familiar with will once again be subverted by technology.

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