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SkyDrive SkyLift (cargo drone)

SkyDrive SkyLift eVTOL multicopter cargo drone


SkyLift (cargo drone)
SkyDrive Inc.
Toyota City, Aichi Prefecture, Japan

Founded in July 2018, SkyDrive Inc. is an electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) company based in Toyota City, 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 eVTOL aircraft and have over 100 aircraft designs.

The company's goals for developing eVTOL advanced air mobility (AAM) aircraft is to make safer aircraft, less costly aircraft, less noisy aircraft, autonomous aircraft and aircraft 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.

SkyLift is a production eVTOL air cargo drone with eight propellers and eight electric motors that is flown remotely or autonomously. The maximum payload of the SkyLift production drone is between 30-50 kg (66-110 lb) depending upon its configuration. If if the fail safe system is removed, the drone can lift up to 50 kg (110 lb). The drone can deliver its payload without landing by hovering and lowering the cargo to the ground using a 30 m (98 ft) hoist. The company has stated that SkyLift is scalable and in the future could carry heavier payloads, as heavy as 100 kg (220 lb), based on customer demand.

The drone's cruise speed is 36 km/h (22 mph), has a range of 2 km (1.24 miles) and has a flight time between 9-15 minutes depending upon the weight of the payload. The range and flight time of the drone will depend upon the weight of the payload. The redundant systems allow for hazardous products to be safely transported by air. The aircraft is small enough to fit inside the back of a van. The aircraft has fixed skid landing gear to keep complexity and weight to a minimum.

The company has stated the SkyLift is uniquely suited for areas where costs or terrain make it impractical or difficult for a helicopter or crane to operate. The use of the drone also makes working in mountainous and other inaccessible areas more efficient and less dangerous for workers. SkyLift has already been tested successfully by a large Japanese construction company to autonomously deliver materials like sandbags and timber to a remote, hard-to-reach locations.

SkyDrive foresees the SkyLift to be used for the transportation of any type of cargo in urban or rural areas. The company expects its drones to be used for delivery of goods, construction materials, construction tools, animal control, farm produce, offshore use, medical supplies, and ferrying luggage back and forth to hotels,

The company states by using the Cargo Drone, there will be a reduction in labor hours (because of less of a work load by employees), an increase in safety for employees (less slips and falls or back problems because the drone is doing the heavy lifting) and an increase in employee productivity.

The company has stated that SkyLift is scalable and in the future could carry heavier payloads based on customer demand.

SkyLift graphic

SkyLift graphic


  • Aircraft type: eVTOL air cargo production drone
  • Piloting: Remote or by autonomously
  • Capacity: Cargo
  • Cruise speed: 36 km/h (22 mph)
  • Range: 2 km (1.24 miles)
  • Flight time: 9-15 minutes (depending upon the weight of the payload)
  • Empty weight: 55 kg (121 lb)
  • Maximum payload: 30-50 kg (66-110 lb)
  • Hoist option maximum payload: 20 kg (44 lb)
  • Maximum takeoff weight: Variable
  • Propellers: 8 propellers
  • Electric motors: 8 electric motors
  • Power source: Batteries
  • 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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