Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan
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.)
The idea of making a flying car first started in September 2012 with the start-up company named Cartivator which was comprised of volunteer automotive and aviation industry volunteers. In January 2014, Cartivator started developing electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft designs and had over 100 ideas.
In 2018, SkyDrive was established with its focus on designing, creating and manufacturing electric flying cars. The SD-XX concept model is a ground vehicle and eVTOL aircraft. SkyDrive’s investors include Drone Fund, Z Corporation, STRIVE III Limited Liability Partnership, ITOCHU Technology Ventures, Inc. and Energy & Environment Investment, Inc.
The SD-XX prototype is a two passenger vehicle which has a flying cruise speed of 100 km/h (62 mph) and flight range of 20 km (12 miles). The driving cruise speed is 60 km/h (37 mph) with a driving range 20-30 km (12-19 miles). As battery technology increases, the range and duration of the vehicle will increase.
SkyDrive started uncrewed test flights in December 2018. In the spring of 2020, the company has confirmed it has been flight testing its full scale eVTOL prototype using pilots since December 2019 through March 2020. Since flight testing began in 2018, the company has clocked a grand total of flying over 1,000 crewed and uncrewed prototype flights. The flight testing has verified the aircraft can be controlled and be stabilized in gusty wind conditions. After the company is satisfied with this round of flight testing, they will build another full scale prototype for more flight tests with crewed and uncrewed flights.
The SkyDrive aircraft has several safety features. One feature is Distributed Electric Propulsion (DEP), which provides safety through redundancy for its passengers. 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. Another safety feature is shock-absorbing seating developed by Cartivator and SkyDrive.
SkyDrive forsees their flying car to be marketed as a ride-sharing Air Taxi service for Urban Air Mobility and also sold to individuals as a personal air vehicle. In addition, the company see their aircraft extremely useful for emergency transportation and emergency services. The company is also developing a cargo drone for urban air cargo delivery.
The company’s goal is to have their passenger eVTOL certified with multiple government aviation authorities and to begin selling the aircraft in 2023.
- Aircraft type: eVTOL and ground vehicle
- Capacity: 2 passengers
- Piloting: Autonomous
- Flight cruise speed: 100 km/h (62 mph)
- Flight range: 20 km (12 miles)
- Driving cruise speed: 60 km/h (37 mph)
- Driving range: 20-30 km (12-19 miles)
- Propellers: 8
- Power source: Batteries
- Flight altitude ~500 m (1,640 feet)
- Maximum take-off weight: 500 kg (1,102 lbs)
- Windows: Panoramic window spectacular views
- Vehicle size: Length 4.0 m (13 ft) X Width 3.5 m (11.5 ft) × Height 1.5 m (5 ft), the vehicle is similar in size as a car
- 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. Crash resistant seating.
- SkyDrive website
- SkyDrive Facebook
- SkyDrive YouTube
- SkyDrive LinkedIn
- Video: SkyDrive Members 2019, SkyDrive, Sept. 16, 2019
- Article: SkyDrive secures new financing for flying car development, EVTOL, Oct. 1, 2019
- Video: Future World with SkyDrive 2030, SkyDrive, Mar. 5, 2020
- Article: SkyDrive confirms manned flight tests, appoints Nobuo Kishi as CTO, EVTOL, Apr. 4, 2020
- Article: Tomohiro Fukuzawa: SkyDrive’s product is a flying car, Weekly Economist, Apr. 6. 2020
- Article: SkyDrive claims Japan’s first manned multirotor flight, New Atlas, Apr. 14, 2020
- Article: Japan’s SkyDrive advances ‘compact air mobility’, EVTOL, Apr. 15, 2020
- Article: Former Toyotamen are taking on the challenge of the “Flying car dream”, President.jp, Apr. 17, 2020
- Article: SkyDrive Completes First Manned Flying Car Test In Japan, CleanTechnica, Apr. 20, 2020
- Article: SkyDrive Appoints Kishi as CTO, eVTOL News, Apr. 30, 2020
- Article: SkyDrive Completes Japan’s First Manned eVTOL Test Flights, eVTOL News, May 3, 2020