Wonderful Engineering

Watch Japan’s NEC Corp Unveil A New Flying Taxi

The line between a flying car and a huge drone is starting to become blurry with so many options that are being introduced in the market. The latest comes from NEC Corp in Japan in the form of a prototype that features four propellers. The prototype by NEC Corp was able to hover for about a minute in a smooth manner during its unveiling.

The latest prototype by NEC Corp was tested just outside of Tokyo in a large cage. The cage was incorporated into the test as a safety precaution. The unmanned vehicle was able to achieve a height of 10 feet in the air. The complete flight lasted for about sixty seconds. The push by NEC Corp for a flying car comes from the initiative that the Japanese Government announced.

The initiative was announced last year and asked the companies to create an electric or hybrid electric vehicle that was unmanned and could take off and land vertically. The feature of taking off and landing vertically is more commonly known as VTOL and used to be reserved for military jets in the past. Fumiaki Ebihara, the government official in charge of the project, said this in September 2018, ‘This is such a totally new sector [that] Japan has a good chance of not falling behind.’

On the other hand, Kouji Okada, one of the project leads at NEC Corp, said, ‘Japan is a densely populated country, and that means flying cars could greatly alleviate the burden on road traffic. We are positioning ourselves as an enabler for air mobility, providing location data and building communications infrastructure for flying cars.’

NEC Corp is not the first company, and Japan is not the first country to attempt to create this particular technology though. The Dubai Police is working on hoverbikes whereas Uber has been working on VTOL taxis since 2016.