On June 7, New Future Transportation, Inc., (NTF) revealed its eVTOL drive-fly vehicle, ASKA, powered by 14 electric lift fans. ASKA means “flying bird” in Japanese, and NFT said, “it’s the first viable eVTOL vehicle that can both drive on the road and fly autonomously in the sky.” The company unveiled a large 4.9 ft x 8.2 ft (1.5 m x 2.5 m) model of the vehicle at the EcoMotion Event in Tel Aviv, Israel, June 10–13. NFT plans to fly a large (not quite full-scale) unmanned demonstrator vehicle in the first quarter of 2020.NFT said ASKA was, “developed with a team of experts with vast experience in aeronautical and autonomous AI systems, including the development of the most advanced unmanned air vehicles in Israel and the US. Our team includes air vehicle engineers, automotive engineers, aerodynamic engineers, flight control engineers, algorithm engineers, autonomous systems engineers, and electrical engineers, all of whom share our dream of reshaping the future of transportation with a real autonomous flying car.”
AKSA has seven embedded electric fans in the front of the car and three more in the back for vertical thrust; these are supplemented by tilting fans at the wingtips and the rear of the vehicle that pivot from lift to cruise thrust. NFT said the vehicle is the size of a sport utility vehicle (SUV) with a range of up to 350 miles (563 km); ASKA accommodates up to three people and runs on rechargeable batteries with a hybrid propulsion system.
NFT’s research and development center is in Mountain View; it has a Center of Excellence based in Israel, while its quality assurance and manufacturing center will be located in Japan.