TOKYO (NewsNation Now) — A Japanese company successfully took their flying car prototype into the sky.
SkyDrive Inc. put the SD-03 on public display for the first time over the weekend. In a statement, CEO Tomohiro Fukuzawa said they plan to sell the vehicle across the world.
SkyDrive officials posted a short clip of the test drive on YouTube. SD-03 is manned by a single pilot who took off at the Toyota Test Field in Tokyo. Workers watched and cheered behind an enclosed fence.
Officials said the car was in the air for four minutes. Aviation strategist Brian Foley told NewsNation that a feat like this takes years to successfully perform.
“To create one isn’t a walk in the park by any stretch of the imagination,” said Foley, who has helped other companies develop and sell similar types of cars. “The technology is finally there for these kind of aircrafts to be developed. The batteries, the motors, the construction, the techniques are all there.”
SkyDrive claimed SD-03 is the world’s smallest electric vertical takeoff and landing vehicle. It has eight motors and is about the size of two cars.
“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,” Fukuzawa said.
Fukuzawa’s goal is to launch the car to the public by 2023.
“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,” Fukuzawa said.
Although technology has come up to speed, Foley stated price, practicality and noise of the engines could be hurdles keeping people purchasing flying cars.
“There’s a little concern from my prospective, that if this is the answer to beating city traffic, you can make a lot of city dwellers cranky after the first one flies. And if you cover the sky with those, it would be untenable,” Foley said.
Aviation Attorney Jared Schneider with Tressler LLP Aviation said in general, flying cars do have their benefits.
“It will reduce congestion and traffic. Its going to increase travel and speed up travel as well. And quite possible you would have door to door travel instead of having to fly to a heliport,” Schneider said.
He said another concern is driver safety.
“Flying is considered to be a safer way of travel, of course, than on the road. But at some point when we start to fill the sky with flying cars or other vehicles, there’s going to be an increased risk of midair collisions,” Schneider said.
Although both experts think the concept could likely happen in the future, they both said it will take a series of checks and balances, before the idea can fully take off.
The company has not released details on a price tag for the flying car. According to SkyDrive’s website, the company is planning more test flights in the future under different conditions to make sure the car’s safety protocols meet industry standards.