Thread: Flying cars!
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Old Posted Aug 13, 2020, 6:27 PM
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Eyes on the skies: SkyDrive plans to launch flying cars in three years


- Tokyo-based SkyDrive Inc.’s CEO Tomohiro Fukuzawa is convinced that by 2050 anyone will be able to fly to any destination within the capital’s 23 wards in 10 minutes. The potential is enormous, with global demand for electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft (eVTOL) set to reach $1.5 trillion (¥158 trillion) by around 2040, according to research by Morgan Stanley in 2019. --- A market for the vehicles “could likely begin as an ultraniche add-on to existing transportation infrastructure, similar to how helicopters operate today,” said Rajeev Lalwani, Morgan Stanley’s lead analyst covering airlines and aircrafts. “They could later transform into a cost-effective, time-efficient method of traveling short to medium distances, eventually taking business away from car and airline companies.”

- Although there are more than 100 flying car projects globally, including major international firms such as Boeing Co., Airbus SE and Uber Technologies Inc., the two-seater vehicle envisioned by SkyDrive is unique in that it is the world’s smallest flying car, and can fit in a parking space for two conventional cars. --- Naysayers are skeptical about the possibility of making the flying cars of sci-fi movies like the DeLorean in the “Back to the Future” series a reality. But flying car projects are getting a helping hand from Japan’s government, which is pushing for their commercialization in 2023. The government’s ultimate goal is using airspace to transport people in big cities, to avoid traffic jams, and providing a new mode of transport for mountainous areas and remote islands, or for use in case of natural disasters and other emergencies.

- According to Fukuzawa, it won’t be until the late 2020s that the firm would be able to produce eVTOLs that can run on normal roads at speeds of up to 60 kph. But the small size, lightness and quietness of battery-powered aircraft would make it easier to set up takeoff and landing spots in highly convenient locations, like the flat top of a concrete building, compared with the limited number of heliports available for helicopters, for example. --- Having attracted more than 100 sponsors including NEC Corp., Panasonic Corp. and Yazaki Corp. for financial, technical parts supply and human resource support, SkyDrive is making final preparations to demonstrate a manned flight this summer. It is aiming to commercialize an air taxi service in 2023, and sell a fully autonomous flying car for the general public in 2028.


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