SkyDrive, a Japanese startup developing zero-emission flying vehicles and heavy-lift cargo drones, and Suzuki Motor Corporation, a leading automaker, have announced a partnership for the commercialisation of flying cars (formally known as eVTOL (electric vertical takeoff and landing) aircraft).
As a new advancement in the field of mobility, the development of flying cars is being promoted in many countries around the world. In Japan, the Public Private Council for Air Mobility Revolution was established in 2018.
The project is expected to lead to taxi services in urban areas, new means of transportation for remote islands and mountainous areas, and emergency transportation in times of disaster. A roadmap has been formulated by the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry (METI) and the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism (MLIT) for the start of business in 2023 and full-scale deployment in 2030.
Designing a system for future air mobility
Established in July 2018, SkyDrive has the mission of ‘leading a once-in-a-century mobility revolution.’ Since then, it has advanced the development of flying cars and cargo drones while working in partnership with others to promote the shared vision of a future in which people use air mobility as a means of transportation in their daily lives.
Currently a leading manufacturer of flying cars in Japan, it is engaged in the development of a compact, two-seating electric-powered flying car with plans for full-scale production.
It is the only company in Japan that has successfully conducted manned test flights and is now involved in designing a system for future air mobility as a member of Japan's public-private council for advanced air mobility.
The company's cargo drones, which can carry payloads of up to 30kg, are already being used at worksites in Japan, mainly in mountainous areas. SkyDrive is aiming to launch a flying car service in the Osaka Bay area in 2025.
Collaborating to attain carbon neutrality
SkyDrive aims to begin air taxi service during the 2025 World Exposition in Osaka, Japan, as well as to initiate service in other regions of Japan.
The partnership with SkyDrive will provide Suzuki with opportunities to explore and potentially add flying cars as fourth mobility business. Together the two companies will start to collaborate in areas of business and technology that include technology R&D, planning of manufacturing and mass-production systems, development of overseas markets with an initial focus on India, and promotion of efforts to attain carbon neutrality.