Cartivator, a Japanese company is developing a flying car with the objective of launching it in time for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Skydrive is fitted with three wheels, a motor and four can take off and land vertically from public roads without runway.
Cartivator was founded in 2012 by Tsubasa Nakamura after he won a business award KoreaRata for a flying car design. He is currently heading a team of about 20 engineers and designers from across Japan’s car industry to build the new generation flying vehicle.
By 2014, the concept was tested on a model that was one-fifth its original size. The team is now testing an experimental model that is similar to the actual car.
Skydrive measures only 9.5 feet by 4.3 feet, and claims to be the world’s smallest flying car. It has a targetted top flight speed of over 100 km while travelling up to 32 feet above the ground.
Cartivator faces stiff competition in the flying car market.
Dubai is ready to launch a fleet of one-seater passenger drones made by Chinese company Ehang by end of this month. It can fit into a car parking space when folded up.
AeroMobil, a Slovakian engineering firm established in 2010, launched a latest version of its flying car concept in April. It is a four-wheeled vehicle with a flight mode.
Kitty Hawk a US start-up gave a demonstrated of its Flyer earlier this year. The personal aircraft is designed to fly over water will be available by the end of 2017.
French aerospace giant Airbus is working on multiple eVTOL concepts: Vahana, which can hold one passenger, is set to fly at the end of 2017.
The Cartivator team is aiming to deliver SkyDrive's first commercial model by 2025. Japan is lagging behind other countries in developing flying cars.
A critical factor that Cartivator might face is acceptance from the community. In addition to cost, speed and ease of use. It should be mindful of the noise factor.
Our assessment is that flying cars will become a reality in the near future. It is too early to talk about its economic viability but it definitely has a use case.