Japan’s SkyDrive Inc. has successfully carried out a test flight of their flying car, according to the Associated Press (AP).
The flying car shown to reporters Friday dons helicopter-like propellers, while the contraption itself has no roof. The eVTOL hovered for around 4 minutes, per the same report.
The eVTOL, which stands for “electric vertical takeoff and landing,” is designed to make commutes speedier. In practice, they would help eliminate traffic jams and help riders circumvent the hassle of airports, per the report. (RELATED: Shinzo Abe, Japan’s Longest-Serving Prime Minister, Announces His Resignation)
#JAPAN A Japanese firm carried out a test of its flying car with 01 person onboard. The aircraft lifted several feet off the ground and circled the field for about four minutes
“The aircraft is designed to be the world’s smallest electric Vertical Take-Off & Landing(eVTOL) model” pic.twitter.com/7e8B5gsC7m
— JAMMU TV (@JammuTv) August 28, 2020
The contraption currently can only remain in air for 5-10 minutes, but if that number can be bumped to 30 minutes, it will have more potential to hit the market sooner, according to Tomohiro Fukuzawa, who leads SkyDrive efforts.
“I hope many people will want to ride it and feel safe,” Fukuzawa said, according to the AP.
However, there are some bumps in the road for this vehicle, which Fukuzawa hopes can be made into a real-life product by 2023.
Air traffic control, battery sizes and other infrastructure issues pose a challenge to the vehicles.
“Many things have to happen,” said Sanjiv Singh, professor at the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University, who co-founded Near Earth Autonomy which is also working on an eVTOL aircraft.
“If they cost $10 million, no one is going to buy them. If they fly for 5 minutes, no one is going to buy them. If they fall out of the sky every so often, no one is going to buy them,” Singh told the AP.
SkyDrive is optimistic that the flying car will be available for business services by 2023 and commercial use in the next decade, noting it could be a game changer for connecting those who live in remote areas to more populated places, as well as provide lifeline support in the event of a disaster, according to the AP.