SD-02 (technology demonstrator)
Toyota City, Aichi Prefecture, 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.
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 SD-02 one person eVTOL technology demonstrator aircraft
The SkyDrive SD-02 is an eVTOL one person technology demonstrator that has an open cockpit with a roll bar and is flown using eight propellers and eight electric motors powered by batteries. The company started flight tests in December 2019 through the spring of 2020. These flight test were the first crewed "flying car" tests in Japan. The flights focused on testing flight maneuverability, flight stability and to determine if any additional improvements needed to be made to the aircraft. The SD-02 cruise speed, cruise altitude, range and flight time are unknown.
The basic design of the SD-02 was transferred to the SD-03 one passenger eVTOL aircraft. The purpose of the SD-03 prototype is the get approval for an airworthiness certificate.
- Aircraft type: eVTOL passenger multicopter demonstrator
- Piloting: 1 Pilot
- Cruise speed: Unknown
- Propellers: 8 propellers
- Electric Motors: 8 motors
- Power source: Batteries
- Dimensions: 3.66 meters (12 feet) L X 3.66 meters (12 feet) W X 1.5 meters H (5 feet)
- Windows: Open cockpit
- Landing gear: Fixed skid type landing gear.
- Safety Features: Distributed Electric Propulsion (DEP), provides safety through redundancy for its passengers and/or cargo. DEP means having multiple propellers and motors on the aircraft so if one or more motors or propellers fail, the other working motors and propellers can safely land the aircraft. One roll bar for pilot safety.
- SkyDrive Inc. website
- SkyDrive Inc. Facebook
- SkyDrive Inc. Twitter
- SkyDrive Inc. YouTube
- SkyDrive Inc. Instagram
- SkyDrive Inc. LinkedIn
- PDF: Fact Book, SkyDrive, Aug. 2020
- Video: SkyDrive Members 2019, SkyDrive, Sept. 16, 2019
- Article: SkyDrive secures new financing for flying car development, Vertical Magazine, Oct. 1, 2019
- Article: SkyDrive Launches Japan’s First Test Flight of Manned “Flying Car”, SkyDrive, Jan. 6, 2020
- Article: “World’s Smallest Flying Car” From SkyDrive Has Started Manned Testing in Japan, Auto Evolution, Jan. 23, 2020
- Video: Future World with SkyDrive 2030, SkyDrive, Mar. 5, 2020
- Article: SkyDrive confirms manned flight tests, appoints Nobuo Kishi as CTO, Vertical Magazine, Apr. 4, 2020
- Article: Tomohiro Fukuzawa: SkyDrive’s product is a flying car, Weekly Economist, Apr. 6. 2020
- Article: SkyDrive conducts manned flights and moves forward with NoBuo Kishi at the helm, SkyDrive, Apr. 7, 2020
- Article: SkyDrive claims Japan’s first manned multirotor flight, New Atlas, Apr. 14, 2020
- Article: Japan’s SkyDrive advances ‘compact air mobility’, Vertical Magazine, Apr. 15, 2020
- Article: Japan’s first-ever manned test flights of a flying car completed by SkyDrive, Inceptive Mind, Apr. 15, 2020
- Article: Former Toyotamen are taking on the challenge of the “Flying car dream”, President Online, Apr. 17, 2020
- Article: SkyDrive Completes First Manned Flying Car Test In Japan, CleanTechnica, Apr. 20, 2020
- Article: SkyDrive Appoints Kishi as CTO, Electric VTOL News, Apr. 30, 2020
- Article: SkyDrive Completes Japan’s First Manned eVTOL Test Flights, Electric VTOL News, May 3, 2020