The Olympics just continue to get better every time. The opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics 2008 was credited as the best so far while the 2016 Rio Olympics saw a refugee team for the first time. Tokyo is planning to be the best, incorporating the best of the most futuristic technology we have seen so far. The Olympics are expected to be a technological extravaganza, and the Toyota backed flying car project will be a part of it.
Toyota is investing 40 million yen (US$354,000) in the flying car project SkyDrive. A group of Toyota employees is working to develop the SkyDrive in their spare time, with a mission to complete the project by 2020, and light the torch at the opening ceremony of Tokyo games.
Cartivator is the group behind the SkyDrive project, made up of a few dozen employees who donate their time to the project. The development of the prototype so far has been dependent on crowdfunding and donations, and the group will test the first manned flight next year.
SkyDrive is a small craft with just one seat, having large propellors on all four corners making it look like a giant quadcopter. The vehicle is nothing like the road ready flying cars that we have seen by AeroMobil or PAL-V that have foldable wings.
The SkyDrive measures 9.5 feet in length, 4.3 meters in width with a height of only 3.6 feet (2.9m x 1.3m x 1.1m) making it world’s smallest flying car. The top speed will go up to 93 miles an hour (150 km/h), with an intuitive steering wheel.
The initial goal is to get the car ready for lighting the Tokyo Games torch, but the team has a vision for the world by 2050 where everyone can fly anywhere they want, needing no runways or airports. The SkyDrive is not the first of its kind in its vision; we have seen vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) craft from AirMule, Boeing, and Lilium Aviation.
The Cartivator team plans to make the SkyDrive available for public sales in 2023 after it makes its debut in 2020 Tokyo games.