Fourth Industrial Revolution

Liftoff: Japan's ambitious flying-car plan

Japanese electronics maker NEC Corp. unveils a prototype of an electric flying car in Abiko, Chiba Prefecture, Japan, August 5, 2019. Picture taken August 5, 2019.  Mandatory credit Kyodo/via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. MANDATORY CREDIT. JAPAN OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN JAPAN. - RC1D23074D10

Japan is planning to commercialise these vehicles by 2023. Image: Reuters

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Technological Transformation

  • Flying cars could be a possibility in the near future, as Japan plans to commercialize as soon as 2023.
  • Companies such as Airbus, Boeing and Uber are all working the field.
  • Japanese company SkyDive are hoping to sell 100 vehicles by 2028 at the cost of an 'expensive car'

The Japanese government is pouring money into the development of flying cars with aims of commercializing the futuristic mode of transportation as soon as 2023, the Japan Times reports.

A number of flying car concepts are being developed throughout the globe, with the likes of Airbus, Boeing and Uber leading the charge.

Drones Aviation, Travel and Tourism Tech for Good Emerging Technologies Technological Transformation
A number of flying car concepts are being developed across the globe. Image: SkyDrive
Have you read?

The dream of covering smaller distances in vehicles capable of vertical take off and landing (VTOL) is very much alive — and that’s especially true in Japan.

Japan’s SkyDrive, one of the country’s newest flying car startups, recently revealed the SD-XX, a sleek two-person eVTOL aircraft, about the size of a car, with a range of several tens of kilometers at 100 kmh (62 mph).


The company is hoping to complete its first flight test this summer, according to the Japan Times.

“We’re considering launching an air taxi service in big cities, either Osaka or Tokyo, with initial flights over the sea as it would be too risky to fly over many people all of a sudden,” SkyDrive CEO Tomohiro Fukuzawa, a former engineer at Toyota, told the newspaper.

Taking off vertically

He also noted that development has been “accelerating rapidly with the rise in the number of personnel in the venture.”

The startup is planning to start with round trips around various resorts, including Universal Studios Japan. “The initial model will fly basically on auto pilot, but it’s not 100 percent autonomous because a pilot would need to maneuver it in case of an emergency, for example,” Fukuzawa said.

The goal of the startup is to sell at least 100 vehicles by 2028, each for the cost of an “expensive car,” according to the CEO.

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