Japan’s SkyDrive ‘Flying Car’ Successfully Carries Out Test Flight With a Person Aboard

It may become less illusory to make the decades-old fantasy of zipping around in the sky as easy as driving on highways.
Among the plethora of “flying vehicle” ventures around the world, Japan’s SkyDrive has carried out a successful but modest test flight with one human on board.
A contraction that looked like a slick motorcycle with propellers raised several feet off the ground and drifted for four minutes in a screened field in a video revealed to reporters on Friday.
Tomohiro Fukuzawa, who heads the SkyDrive effort, said he hoped that by 2023 “the flying car” will be turned into a real-life device, but he admitted it was important to keep it safe.

“Of the world’s more than 100 flying car projects, only a handful has succeeded with a person on board,” he told The Associated Press.

“I hope many people will want to ride it and feel safe.”

So far, the system can only travel for five to 10 minutes, but if it can be 30 minutes, it would have more scope, like exports to places like China, Fukuzawa said.
The eVTOL (electric vertical takeoff and landing) vehicles, unlike airplanes and helicopters, deliver easy point-to – point personal transport, at least in theory.
They could do away with the hassle of airports and traffic congestion and they could travel automatically at the expense of recruiting pilots.
Among the many possible obstacles to commercializing them are battery capacities, air traffic control and other technology problems.

“Many things have to happen,” said Sanjiv Singh, professor at the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University, who co-founded Near Earth Autonomy, near Pittsburgh, which is also working on an eVTOL aircraft.

If they cost 10 million dollars (approximately Rs. 73 crores), no one can buy them. No one is going to buy them if they fly for five minutes. No one is going to buy them if they fall out of the sky every so often,’ Singh said in a telephone interview.
The SkyDrive project launched humbly in 2012 as a volunteer project called Cartivator, with sponsorship from top Japanese companies such as Toyota automaker, Panasonic electronics corporation, and Bandai Namco video game developer.
A presentation flight went badly three years ago. But it has strengthened and the project has recently obtained another funding round, JPY 3.9 billion (approximately Rs. 271 crores), including from Japan’s Development Bank.

The Japanese government is bullish on “the Jetsons” vision, with a “road map” for business services by 2023, and expanded commercial use by the 2030s, stressing its potential for connecting remote areas and providing lifelines in disasters.
Experts compare the buzz over flying cars to the days when the aviation industry got started with the Wright Brothers and the auto industry with the Ford Model T.

Also operating on eVTOL ventures are Lilium of Germany, Joby Aviation in California and Wisk, a joint partnership between Boeing and Kitty Hawk.
Sebastian Thrun, Kitty Hawk’s chief executive, said it took time to gain approval for aircraft, mobile phones and self-driving vehicles.
“But for eVTOL vehicles the time could be more compact between technology and social acceptance,” he added.
source : https://bit.ly/3gDB8tm

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