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SkyDrive SD-03

SkyDrive SD-03 first public flight.

 

SD-03 
SkyDrive
Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, Japan
www.skydrive2020.com

Founded in July 2018, SkyDrive is and eVTOL company based in Tokyo, Japan. Tomohiro Fukuzawa is the chief executive officer and Nobuo Kishi is the chief technology officer. (All photos SkyDrive credit.) Their development of flying cars first began in September 2012 with the start-up company Cartivator which was comprised of volunteer automotive and aviation industry volunteers. In January 2014, Cartivator started developing electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft with over 100 designs. 

The company's motivation for developing eVTOL Urban Air Mobility (UAM) aircraft was to make safer, cheaper aircraft that cost less to manufacture, are less noisy than other aircraft, are autonomous and require less infrastructure. The plan is to start using the aircraft in the mid-2020s for air transportation of goods and people in rural and urban areas.

The SD-03 eVTOL aircraft is SkyDrive's answer to UAM in densely populated cities around the world. The company has designed this aircraft as an on-demand airtaxi booked using cell phone. After booking a flight, the SD-03 would safely and autonomously fly passengers to their destination.  

The aircraft has the capacity to carry a single passenger, and has an approximate cruise speed of 40-50 km/h (25-31 mph) with a maximum flight time of 5-10 minutes. It is 4 meters long (13.1 ft), 4 meters wide (13.1 ft) and 2 meters high (6.6 ft), allowing the craft to fit in the space of two parking spaces. The company expects the speed and flight time to increase by 2026.

The SkyDrive SD-03 eVTOL aircraft was first flown in public, for about four minutes, at the Toyota Test Field (Toyota, Japan) on Aug. 25, 2020. It has been reported that this was the first "flying car" demonstration in Japan per SkyDrive. The company has a goal of gaining flight testing approval, for outside of the test field area, by the end of 2020. SkyDrive points out that flight testing is extremely important part of making an eVTOL aircraft and there are still many eVTOL aircraft companies which have not performed full scale flight testing. 

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. We aim to take our social experiment to the next level in 2023 and to that end we will be accelerating our technological development and our business development.

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. We also aspire to develop markets around the world, in collaboration with our partner companies, so that an urban air mobility society with aircraft supplied by SkyDrive becomes a reality not only in Japan but also across the globe.

—Tomohiro Fukuzawa, CEO, SkyDrive 

The electric propellers are on booms located on each corner of the aircraft. Each boom has two electric propellers and to electric motors and each set of rotors, rotate in opposite directions. The use of eight propellers and eight electric motors are to increase safety in case if one or two motors fail. 

The electric propellers are on booms located on each corner of the aircraft. Each boom has two electric propellers and to electric motors and each set of rotors, rotate in opposite directions. The use of eight propellers and eight electric motors are to increase safety in case if one or two motors fail. 

The aircraft has two white lights in front and a red light running around the bottom of the fuselage. The company proposes this type of lighting will be unique to eVTOL aircraft to make it easy for people on the ground to tell which way the aircraft is going. The main exterior color of the SD-03 is pearl white which was chosen to represent white birds and the floating clouds in the sky. 

SkyDrive raised ¥3.9 billion in Series B round of fundraising was announced at a press conference, on Aug. 28, 2020 in Tokyo. The company's goal is to have their eVTOL aircraft certified and operations take place in 2023 with the first potential flight zones in the bay areas of Tokyo and Osaka, Japan. 
 

Specifications:

  • Aircraft type: eVTOL
  • Piloting: Pilot 
  • Capacity: 1 person 
  • Cruise speed: 40-50 ㎞/h (25-31 mph)
  • Maximum flight time: 5-10 minutes
  • Altitude: 150 meters (492 feet) 
  • Weight: 400 kg (882 lbs)
  • Propellers: 8 propellers 
  • Electric Motors: 8 motors 
  • Power source: Batteries
  • Lights: Front white light and rear T-shaped red light with red running lights under the aircraft 
  • Dimensions: 4 meters long (13.1 ft) X 4 meters wide (13.1 ft) X 2 meters high (6.6 ft)
  • Windows: Open cockpit with a low wrap-around windscreen
  • 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. White light in front, red light in back and red running lights on the bottom of the aircraft so people on the ground can see which way the aircraft if going.