It seems we won’t have to wait long to finally realize the dream of riding in a flying car. Three days ago, the SkyDrive SD-03 made its first piloted voyage around the Toyota Test Field in Japan. SkyDrive is a Toyota-backed Japanese startup that aims to make flying taxis a reality by as early as 2023. The test flight was on a single-seat model powered by four pairs of propellers and an electric battery.
Sure, the SkyDrive SD-03 didn’t actually ‘soar’ to the heavens and move through time like in Back to the Future 2, but it managed to lift and hover six feet on the ground with a pilot on board. The entire flight lasted around five minutes and is the company’s first manned flight aboard the SD-03 flying car.
“We are extremely excited to have achieved Japan’s first-ever manned flight of a flying car in the two years since we founded SkyDrive in 2018 with the goal of commercializing such aircraft,” said Tomohiro Fukuzawa, CEO of SkyDrive. “We want to realize a society where flying cars are an accessible and convenient means of transportation in the skies and people are able to experience a safe, secure, and comfortable new way of life.”
Granted the SD-03 is merely a single-seat flying car prototype, but the commercial version is envisioned to have two seats. It’s not exactly a car per se made obvious by the absence of driving wheels, but the SD-03 is designed to be the world’s smallest electric eVTOL or electric vertical take-off and landing vehicle. Measuring two meters high and four meters wide, the SD-03 requires as much space as two parked cars.