- Japan-based SkyDrive has completed its first public manned flying car test on Aug. 25.
- The SD-03 successfully cruised around the test field for four minutes with a pilot.
- Three days after the test flight, SkyDrive announced that the company raised around $36.6 million in a Series B round of funding.
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The idea of a flying car is no longer as futuristic as it sounds: Japan-based SkyDrive has completed its first public manned flying car test.
The flying SD-03 demonstration took place on Aug. 25 at the Toyota Test Field in Japan, where SkyDrive develops its products, according to the company’s news release. This occasion also serves as the country’s first public manned flying car test, which took place two years after SkyDrive was formally launched, and seven years after the start of the flying car development under Cartivator, SkyDrive’s founding company and joint developer.
SkyDrive’s YouTube debut of the flight demonstration passed the one million view mark within three days of posting. And three days after the test flight, the company announced on a news release that it had raised around $36.6 million in a Series B round of funding.
According to the SkyDrive, the goal is to be approved for flights outside of the test field before the end of the year.
The SD-03 cruised around the test field for four minutes with a pilot ...
... who was accompanying the computer-run controls and the on-site staff who were monitoring in case backup was needed.
As of now, the SD-03 is the world's smallest electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) vehicle at 6.56 feet tall, and 13.12 feet wide and long, according to SkyDrive.
According to its maker, this size is equivalent to about two parking spots.
The flying car is powered by eight electric motors that are paired off and located at its four corners.
According to SkyDrive, the fuselage looks "lean and sleek" and the compartments that hold the rotors juts out of the SD-03 in a curve, which provides a clean exterior appearance and "aerodynamic qualities."
The "pearl white" exterior color of the SD-03 pays homage to white birds and the clouds in the sky, according to SkyDrive.
The flying car has two white lights at its front, and a red light underneath, all of which are designed to help onlookers identify the direction that the SD-03 is flying in.
SkyDrive's planned flying car concept, the SD-XX, is able to seat two people, according to the company's website. However, the SD-03 used on the test flight was a one-seater.
The description of the SD-XX also states that the aircraft will be able to accommodate up to about 1,102 pounds and fly up to an altitude of about 1,640 feet.
To compare, the test flight of the SD-03 saw the vehicle fly up about 10 feet, according to The New York Times.
Source: The New York Times
The SD-XX will also be able to travel at around 37.3 miles-per-hour with a range between about 12.4 to 18.6 miles.
Because the SD-03 is an eVTOL that doesn't require any infrastructure to operate, it's greener than the traditional road-based automobile.
SkyDrive's goal is to bring its flying car to the market by 2023.
However, the price of the eVTOL has not been announced yet.
Looking even further ahead, the company plans to introduce self-driving flying cars by 2030.