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“The People’s Partner in the Sky”: SkyDrive carries out first public manned flight of SD-03 flying car

SkyDrive Inc has announced that it carried out a demonstration flight of its new SD-03 flying car model on Tuesday, August 25thth, reports a company press release. This was the first public presentation of a flying car in Japan. The flight took place at the 2.5 acre Toyota Test Field, one of the largest flying trial areas in Japan, and home to the company’s development base. 

The single-seat SD-03 took off in the early evening and circled the field for around four minutes. While a pilot was at the controls, a computer-assisted control system helped ensure flight stability and safety where technical staff monitored flying conditions and aircraft performance at all times as backup.

Tomohiro Fukuzawa, CEO of SkyDrive, said,We want to realise 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.” He continued, “We aim to take our social experiment to the next level in 2023 and to that end we will be accelerating our technological development and our business development.” 

The aircraft has been designed to be the world’s smallest electric Vertical Take-Off and Landing (eVTOL). It measures two metres high by four wide and four metres long. The eVTOL needs only the space on the ground the size of two parked cars. The powertrain consists of electric motors that drive rotors deployed in four areas, with each location housing two rotors that individually rotate in opposite directions, and each driven by its own motor. The use of eight motors is a means of ensuring safety in emergency situations during flight to address compliance standards and allay potential regulatory concerns.

Nobuo KISHI, SkyDrive’s CTO of SkyDrive, added, We will continue to develop technologies and acquire type certification so that safe and secure flying car operation services can be launched in fiscal 2023.”

The key word guiding the aircraft’s design is “progressive.” Viewed from the side, the fuselage has a sleek look with the rotor housings extending out in curves that maintain the visual aspect of the aircraft’s design while emphasising its aerodynamic qualities. The aircraft has two white lights in front and a red light running around the bottom of the body. These are a characteristic unique to flying cars, designed to make it easier for observers to tell which way the vehicle is headed when it’s flying in the sky.

Takumi YAMAMOT, Design Director of SkyDrive, commented,We want this ‘compact coupe’ to be futuristic, charismatic and desirable for all future customers, while fully incorporating the company’s leading technology. “ Concluding, “As a pioneer of a new genre, we would like to continue designing the vehicles that everyone dreams of.”

The main exterior colour of the SD-03 is pearl white, chosen to represent white birds and floating clouds. The company hopes that its aircraft will become “the people’s partner in the sky” rather than yet another commodity.

SkyDrive aims to obtain approval for flights outside the limits of the Toyota Test Field before the end of 2020.

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