Some people envisioned that we’d have flying cars by the year 2000. Obviously, that did not happen and the technology that we currently have that is somehow closer to a hovering vehicle is variations of a Rocketeer-inspired jetpack.
Although we’re way behind schedule, a Tokyo-based car manufacturer called SkyDrive is aiming to launch a commercial flying taxi service in Japan by 2023. They even released a video of how their flying cars will look like in the distant future just to show how serious they are.
The SkyDrive’s concept car is called the SD-XX. The company claims that its electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) prototype would be able to cruise at an altitude of 500m and would be able to achieve a top speed of 60 km/h. The battery-powered flying vehicle has eight propellers installed on each of its four corners and would be able to transport up to two people. Last December, SkyDrive managed to complete its first-ever manned flight.
In an interview with The Japan Times, SkyDrive CEO Tomohiro Fukuzawa said that they are planning to launch their flying taxi service in Osaka or Tokyo by 2023, with plans to expand the new mobility option to the southeast Asian market. “Initially we plan to provide the service in Japan, but we are aiming to go overseas quickly, especially Southeast Asia.”
According to a research by Morgan Stanley in 2019, the flying car market is expected to grow to ¥158 trillion ($1.5 trillion) globally by 2040. SkyDrive said that since flying cars are inexpensive, quiet and compact compared to a conventional aircraft, they are seen to make flying a routine form of mobility in the near future.