Meet George Jetson!
If you have ever been stuck in traffic and found yourself wishing for a “Jetsons”-style flying car to bypass the logjam, your dream could be closer to reality than you imagined. A Japanese startup company named SkyDrive Inc. has performed a successful test flight of a flying car project with a person aboard the vehicle.
SkyDrive Project SD-03, as it is currently called, looks like a space-age mashup of a motorcycle, helicopter and drone. The company shared videos of the model lifting 3 to 6 feet off the ground while manned, where it hovered for four minutes around an enclosed launchpad at Toyota Test Field in Japan. The project has been financially backed by Toyota.
You can watch a clip of the flight and view the appearance of the futuristic vehicle in this video.
The SkyDrive project has been in development since 2014, with the eventual goal of releasing a flying car to the public by 2023 and upgrading to flying cars that operate with full autonomy by 2030.
It may sound far-fetched but SkyDrive is apparently on track to meet those goals. SkyDrive CEO Tomohiro Fukuzawa says that safety is the key to getting it done.
“Of the world’s more than 100 flying car projects, only a handful has succeeded with a person on board,” Fukuzawa told The Associated Press. “I hope many people will want to ride it and feel safe.”
Currently, the vehicle can only fly for five to 10 minutes at a time. The next goal is to keep it airborne for at least 30 minutes, which Fukuzawa says will provide more potential and open up the possibilities of exporting to places like China.
Theoretically, the vehicle could change point-to-point transit because electric vertical takeoff and landing, or eVTOL technology, could eliminate the frustrations of traffic jams as well as the need for airports or even pilots once they can fly autonomously.