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SkyDrive SKYDRIVE (production model)

SKYDRIVE three passenger eVTOL multicopter production aircraft

 

SKYDRIVE (production model)
SkyDrive Inc.
Toyota City, Aichi Prefecture, Japan
www.skydrive2020.com

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 three passenger eVTOL multicopter production model aircraft
The SKYDRIVE is a three passenger eVTOL multicopter production model aircraft made for advanced air mobility. The name of the aircraft is the same name as the company "SkyDrive", with the difference that the aircraft name is spelled using all capital letters "SKYDRIVE". The aircraft is piloted with one person and carries two passengers room for their luggage. The aircraft's maximum cruise speed is 100 km/h (62 mph), has a range of 15 km (9 m) and has an estimated takeoff weight of ~1,400 kg (3,086 lb).

On top of the fuselage is a rotor dome that contains 12 propellers and 12 electric motors with one vertical stabilizer at the rear of the rotor dome assembly. The fuselage has a streamlined futuristic look with wrap-around large windows for spectacular views for the passengers. The fuselage is made of carbon fiber composite, aluminum and other materials. If looking carefully, the top rear of the fuselage is a half circular after-body fairing, possibly made for drag reduction and to also improve the appearance of the aircraft. Ventral fins are found on each side near the bottom rear of the fuselage. The aircraft has fixed skid landing gear.

SkyDrive revealed the aircraft to the public on June 19, 2023
On June 19, 2023, SkyDrive revealed the aircraft to the public at the Paris Air Show 2023 (France) and announced they have signed a basic agreement with Suzuki Motor Corporation to manufacture the SKYDRIVE aircraft.

SkyDrive plans to certify the aircraft in 2025 and start serial production in 2026
SkyDrive plans to certify the aircraft with the Japan Civil Aviation Bureau in 2025 with the goal of flying the SKYDRIVE at Expo 2025 (a World Expo) in Osaka, Kansai, Japan. The company also wants to certify the aircraft with the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). SkyDrive expects to start serial production of the aircraft in 2026 and sell the aircraft in Japan and to the rest of the world.

Production launch
On March 6, 2024, SkyDrive had a ceremony at a Suzuki Motor Corporation manufacturing plant in Iwata city, Shizuoka, SkyDrive, Japan, to launch the production of the SD-05 SkyDrive passenger eVTOL aircraft. The company stated the production facility can produce 100 aircraft per year. SkyDrive and Suzuki Motor Corporation agreed in June 2023 to jointly produce SkyDrive’s eVTOL aircraft at a Suzuki-owned plant. In September 2023, SkyDrive launched its manufacturing subsidiary, Sky Works Inc., to manage production. Meanwhile, on March 14, SkyDrive announced that Bravo Air, a US-based private air charter based in Augusta, Georgia, intends to purchase up to five SD-05 SkyDrive eVTOL aircraft.

SKYDRIVE landing on vertiport (Image: SkyDrive)

SKYDRIVE landing on vertiport (Image: SkyDrive)

SKYDRIVE on landing pad (Image: SkyDrive)

SKYDRIVE on landing pad (Image: SkyDrive)

SKYDRIVE flying bottom rear view (Image: SkyDrive)

SKYDRIVE flying bottom rear view (Image: SkyDrive)

SKYDRIVE interior view looking forward (Image:SkyDrive)

SKYDRIVE interior view looking forward (Image:SkyDrive)

SKYDRIVE interior view (Image: SkyDrive)

SKYDRIVE interior view (Image: SkyDrive)

SKYDRIVE charging (Image: SkyDrive)

SKYDRIVE charging (Image: SkyDrive)

 

Specifications:

  • Aircraft type: eVTOL passenger multicopter production model aircraft
  • Piloting: 1 pilot
  • Capacity: 2 passengers and luggage
  • Maximum cruise speed: 100 km/h (62 mph)
  • Range: 15 km (9 m)
  • Maximum takeoff weight: ~1,400 kg (3,086 lb)
  • Propellers: 12 propellers
  • Electric motors: 12 electric motors
  • Power source: Batteries
  • Fuselage: Carbon fiber composite and aluminum. Ventral fins are found on each side near the bottom rear of the fuselage. Protruding at the top rear of the fuselage is a half circular after-body fairing (possibly for drag reduction and to improve appearance).
  • Dimensions: 13 X 13 X 3 (W X L X H, in meters), 43 X 43 X 10 (feet)
  • Windows: Panoramic wrap around windows allowing forward, left and right visibility for spectacular views with a solid roof above the passenger compartment
  • Tail: 1 vertical stabilizer
  • Landing gear: Fixed skid landing gear
  • 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 of critical components in the sub-systems of the aircraft.

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