This article is based on an article from the Japanese edition of Engadget and was created using the translation tool Deepl.
On August 28, SkyDrive, a manned drone development venture funded by Toyota, conducted a public manned flight test of the SD-03, which claims to be the world's smallest VTOL. The location was the Toyota Test Field in Toyoda City.
The SD-03's very small fuselage is designed to have eight rotor pairs rotating at each corner, so that it can continue flying even if one of them stops due to failure.
This test flight lasted only four minutes, and the aircraft only floated at a height of about one to two meters. And although the flight was not autonomous, it was controlled by the pilot, and the attitude stabilization control was automatic.
The demand for flying cars could be for point-to-point personal transportation in constantly congested urban areas, and SkyDrive is aiming to commercialize this "flying car" (formally known as an electric vertical takeoff and landing pilotless aircraft) project in 2023.
This is in line with the Growth Strategy Follow-up Draft based on the Growth Strategy formulated for FY2020, which the Japanese government indicated in July as its policy for the realization of flying vehicles, which states that it will begin studying the development of safety standards for airframe and operations, as well as standards for the certification of pilot skills, during FY2020, and will be realized personnel transport services in rural areas by 2023, and then expanding the use of the service to cities.
SkyDrive believes that extending the flight time from the current 5 to 10 minutes to at least 30 minutes will increase the possibility of monetization, such as exporting to other countries. On the same day as the public test flight, the company announced that it had raised 3.9 billion yen in funding through a third-party allocation of new shares to 10 companies, including the Development Bank of Japan.
However, further safety improvements, such as the still bare rotors, will be required to make the aircraft operational in 2023. In addition, there are still a number of issues to be addressed, such as improving battery capacity and weight, coordination with air traffic control, and other infrastructural aspects of the new transportation system.
This article is based on an article from the Japanese edition of Engadget and was created using the translation tool Deepl. The Japanese edition of Engadget does not guarantee the accuracy or reliability of this article.