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Cartivator SkyDrive (technology demonstrator)

Cartivator SkyDrive subscale prototype.


SkyDrive (technology demonstrator)
Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, Japan

Founded in July 2018, SkyDrive Inc. is an electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) manufacturer based in Toyota City, Aichi Prefecture, Japan. Tomohiro Fukuzawa is the chief executive officer and Nobuo Kishi is the chief technology officer. The mission of the company is to take the lead in the once-in-a-century mobility revolution to design and produce eVTOL passenger and air cargo aircraft for advanced air mobility (AAM). According to a SkyDrive article on April 6, 2023, its cumulative funding has now exceeded ¥15 billion yen. (All images: SkyDrive)

The company's goals is to make eVTOL aircraft safer than conventional aircraft, less costly, less noisy, autonomous and that require less infrastructure. The plan is to start using the aircraft in the mid-2020s for air transportation of goods and people in areas where conventional public transportation is slow or almost nonexistent in rural and urban areas. The company's vision is to create a future where everyone has access to eVTOL aircraft as their daily transportation in Japan and across the world.

Brief history
A brief history of the company starts in September 2012 when Tomohiro Fukuzawa formed a volunteer group automotive, drone and aviation industry professionals, who would meet outside of business hours and started discussions by first stating "Let's do something interesting". Based on Fukuzawa's automotive background, he asked the group a fundamental question, "How do people move?" Eventually, more than 100 ideas were talked about, such as cars which could also be submarines to small enough cars that could move from room to room, inside a building.

After a year and a half of discussions in 2013, the group decided on flying cars. The company they formed was called Cartivator. The company name was created by combining the word car and cultivate with the definition of cultivate being more towards the word pioneer. As the business matured, it became difficult to continue with volunteer workers. This is why in July 2018, about 30 people from Cartivator founded SkyDrive Inc. The company originally had plans to make a flying car, a vehicle that can fly in the "Sky" and "Drive" on the road, hence the name SkyDrive. However, the company is only making eVTOL passenger aircraft at this time.

SkyDrive subscale technology demonstrator aircraft
The Cartivator SkyDrive is subscale electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) technology demonstrator aircraft. The full scale production has been estimated to be 36 m L X 1.1 m H X 3.1 m W (11.8 ft L X 3.6 ft H X 10.17 ft W) in flight. The aircraft will have a cockpit with two forward and two aft VTOL propellers extended beyond and below the fuselage sides. Target maximum speed is 100 km/h (62 mph) and the average travel speed is expected to be 60 km/h (37 mph) with a 50 m (164 ft) altitude. Its maximum take-off weight will be 400 kg (882 lb) and carry two people.

Subscale SkyDrive flying over city graphic

Subscale SkyDrive flying over city, graphic

Subscale SkyDrive in flight

Subscale SkyDrive in flight

Subscale SkyDrive held by team member

Subscale SkyDrive held by team member

Specifications (July 2017):

  • Aircraft type: 1/5 sub-scale eVTOL and road capable prototype
  • Capacity: 0 passengers
  • Maximum cruise speed (air): Unknown
  • Maximum ground speed: Unknown
  • Target altitude: Unknown
  • Propellers: 4 propellers
  • Electric motors: 4 electric motors
  • Electric motors for wheels: 3 electric motors. One electric motor to steer the front wheel and two electric motors for the back wheels.
  • Fuselage: Unknown material
  • Power source: Batteries
  • Landing gear: Fixed tricycle wheeled landing and are also used to drive on the ground.
  • Safety features: Distributed Electric Propulsion (DEP), provides safety through redundancy for its passengers and/or cargo. DEP means having multiple propellers (or ducted fans) and motors on the aircraft so if one or more propellers (ducted fans) or motors fail, the other working propellers (or ducted fans) and motors can safely land the aircraft. There are also redundancies in the sub-systems of the aircraft.

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