Flying car ‘ready by Tokyo Olympics’

Flying car ‘ready by Tokyo Olympics’

gallery_img15A Japanese start-up reckons its flying car will be hovering around the country’s capital by time the Olympic torch is lit in 2020.

A team of around 20 young engineers and designers from the Japanese auto industry are developing Skydrive, what it claims to be the world’s smallest flying car, measuring 2.9m long and 1.31m wide.

It is quite like that the product’s name will be changed – a small American software start-up called Microsoft owns that trademark, at last count.

The-flying-car-currently-known-as-Skydrive said to be capable of vertical take-off and landing – like a Harrier jump jet for mere mortals – and the engineers are targeting a top flight speed of just 100km/h, roughly 10m above the ground.

One of the project goals is to provide a form of personal transport that will help alleviate the scenes of disruption that have surrounded earthquakes in the country in recent years.

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“Our vision is to initiate a new era [in which] everyone can fly freely. We are developing the world’s smallest flying car with vertical taking off and landing (VTOL) system and it can fly anywhere and anytime,” states one of the goals on the team’s website. ”It enables us to go places where we cannot go now or to live on water, by releasing [us from] transportation on roads.”

Tsubasa Nakamura, head of the project, built the initial prototype of Skydrive with a motor from a toy, before creating a serious prototype last year, funded by crowdsourced investments totalling around NZ$32,000,

The latest prototype of the futuristic-looking flyer is about 20% of the size that the final product will be.

There’s a flying car arms race afoot at the moment, with the ugly, yet advance Terrefugia still two years from launch. Slovakian AeroMobil hasn’t set a goal date yet, and German Lillium Aviation are set to launch an electric-powered flying car with a heavy emphasis on computer-aided controls in the next two years.

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