We’ve been ready and waiting for the flying car for literal decades. Because nothing makes you want to take off into the skies more than sitting stuck in traffic for a few hours. Alas, that technological milestone still eludes us but, with the latest test by Toyota-backed SkyDrive, we can at least see it in the distance.
One small step for a car…
The SkyDrive SD-03 is being billed as the smallest electric VTOL (vertical takeoff and landing) vehicle in the world — we’re assuming that means the smallest ‘manned’ electric VTOL — and it certainly looks the part. There’s enough space for a lone pilot, at least in the test version, and not much else. We can’t imagine taking one of these to go get groceries. And, at the same time, we kinda can.
The SD-03 was recently successfully flown around a test field by a pilot in the city of Toyota, Japan. The name of the oversized cricket nets used to test SkyDrive’s flying car? Toyota Test Field, of course. You can see the test flight, or at least portions of it, in the video below.
One giant leap for car-kind
Calling SkyDrive’s vehicle a ‘flying car’ might be a bit of a misnomer, though. The SD-03 looks like a hybrid between a DJI drone and a helicopter, with the rotors from the former and the skids from the latter. And this test doesn’t let this oversized drone get too far from the ground, either. Hopefully that’ll change soon.
SkyDrive is hoping to launch more expansive test-flights before the end of the year, with a two-seater commercial version of the craft planned for 2023. Which, Engadget reports, is right about the time Japan is hoping to debut flying taxis. And, based on how 2020 is going, that’s possibly also the year that Tetsuo Shima will grow to enormous size and engulf a city in that country. Hopefully, though, it’ll just be flying cars. Aircraft. Those things.