Japanese engineers envisage ‘flying car’ Olympics

Japanese engineers envisage ‘flying car’ Olympics

flying car

Engineers in Japan have set their sights on lighting the Olympic torch at the 2020 Tokyo games with a flying car.

The plan is to reportedly drive the car around the athletic track in the new national stadium before flying it into the air to light the cauldron in the climactic moment of the opening ceremony, reports News.com.au.

The vehicle will be a single person electric tricycle with propellers positioned on the front and rear corners to provide a vertical take off and landing (VTOL) system and its design will see it operated with the steering wheel and accelerator pedal either in the air or on the road.

Whigham reports that a team of young automotive engineers from a group called Cart!vator are working on the project.

This group is comprised of voluntary young members who are mainly in the automobile industry. They have set up a garage and testing facility in an abolished elementary school on loan from Toyota and are working to bring their vision to life.

The finished product is expected to be about 3.5m long and about 1.3m wide.

According to the group’s website, the project is designed “to a new era where everyone can fly freely”. It also points out that flying cars will allow us to live on water by reducing our reliance on roads.

Although the team is relatively small, it plans on producing a full-scale working prototype while partnering with a large company for funding and production needs.

The group – led by Tsubasa Nakamura, an automotive expert who founded the project dubbed SkyDrive in 2012 – wants to ultimately make the product commercially viable.

“If technological innovation is achieved in the battery performance and other fields, the vehicle could be commercialised in the future,” Masafumi Miwa, an engineer working on the car, told The Asahi Shimbun.

A small prototype of the car — one fifth of the proposed size — was demonstrated at the Maker Faire Tokyo in 2014, reports Whigham. However as the group seeks to scale the plan upwards it faces challenges as the larger frame becomes more difficult to elevate and control.

The team believes it will need about ¥30 million yen (NZ$405,243 / A$380,000) to achieve its first manned test flight.

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