Tokyo-based SkyDrive, showed off a test flight of its SD-03 flying car model earlier this month in the Japanese city of Toyota.
We call it “drone” as it looks like one, but it’s actually a human piloted flying machine.
The single-seat car, powered by a battery and four pairs of propellers, was lifted to six feet above the ground and hovered in a netted test area for about five minutes. Most significantly, the car had a pilot on board.
It was SkyDrive’s first manned flight with the SD-03 model. The company, backed by Toyota (the automaker), aims to turn the prototype into a two-seater commercial model by 2023. It’s the same timeline targeted by the Japanese government to roll out flying taxi service in dense cities like Tokyo and Osaka.
Right now, the SkyDrive model can fly for only five to ten minutes at a low speed of several miles per hour. The next step is to raise its speed up to 60 kilometers per hour (40 mph) and extend flight duration to 30 minutes. That would mean a capacity to fly nonstop for 20 miles, making the car a suitable candidate for exporting to other countries, CEO Tomohiro Fukuzawa said.
Toyota Skydrive is a VTOL.