Flying off the Shelves: Japan Eyes Cars in the Sky by 2023

Flying cars could be a possibility in the near future, as Japan eyes their commercialisation as soon as 2023. Companies such as Airbus, Boeing and Uber are all working extensively in the field. Japanese company SkyDrive is hoping to sell 100 vehicles by 2028 at the cost of an ‘expensive car.’

The Japanese government is pouring money into the development of flying cars with aims of commercializing the futuristic mode of transportation as soon as 2023, the Japan Times reports.

A number of flying car concepts are being developed across the globe, with the likes of Airbus, Boeing and Uber  leading the charge.

The dream of covering smaller distances in vehicles capable of vertical take off and landing (VTOL) is very much alive — and that is especially true in East Asia.

Japan’s SkyDrive, one of the country’s newest flying car start-ups, recently revealed the SD-XX, a sleek two-person eVTOL aircraft, about the size of a car, with a range of several tens of kilometres at 100 kmph (62 mph).

The company is hoping to complete its first flight test this summer, according to the Japan Times.

“We’re considering launching an air taxi service in big cities, either Osaka or Tokyo, with initial flights over the sea as it would be too risky to fly over many people all of a sudden,” SkyDrive CEO Tomohiro Fukuzawa, a former engineer at Toyota, told the newspaper.

He also noted that development has been “accelerating rapidly with the rise in the number of personnel in the venture.”

The start-up is planning to start with round trips around various resorts, including Universal Studios Japan. “The initial model will fly basically on auto pilot, but it’s not 100 percent autonomous because a pilot would need to manoeuvre it in case of an emergency, for example,” Fukuzawa said.

The goal of the start-up is to sell at least 100 vehicles by 2028, each for the cost of an “expensive car,” according to the CEO.