In the 1989 movie, “Back to the Future: Part II,” the protagonist, Marty McFly was sent many years into the future. He arrived in 2015, surrounded by self-lacing shoes, hoverboards and, of course, flying cars.
The movie got many things right about the future – biometric scanning, flatscreens TVs, video calls – but the non-existence of flying cars has always served as a disappointment for people of the 21st century.
A Japanese tech company, SkyDrive, recently announced the successful testing of a flying car.
The Future Is Here
On Friday, SkyDrive announced that it had conducted a public flight test of “the world’s first manned testing machine.” The machine here refers to the company’s SD-03 model, an electrical vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) vehicle.
The SD-03 can fly for up to 10 minutes, however, SkyDrive hopes to develop a model that can fly at 40mph for up to 30 minutes.
The ‘flying car’ works on 8 motors, 4 propellers and has one seat. The light and compact vehicle flew 3 feet into the air and recorded a flight time of 4 minutes, being operated by a pilot.
SkyDrive, which was started in 2012, had reportedly been working on developing a flying car since 2014, having finally made the fantasy vehicle often seen in sci-fi movies an actual reality.
The company is backed and funded by big names like the Development Bank of Japan, Toyota, and Obayashi, amongst others.
2023, Here We Come
SkyDrive plans to sell a two-seat version of the SD-03 model by 2023, but the cost will drive away everyone other than millionaires.
The flying car would be priced between $300,000 to $500,000 as new technology is generally very expensive in the beginning. The price is expected to decrease by 2030.
“If this becomes successful, I think that would definitely create a different means of transportation. We are going to benefit a lot by reducing congestion and overcoming the geographical constraints of ground mobility,” said Derya Aksaray, an assistant professor of aerospace engineering and mechanics at the University of Minnesota.
The company hopes to make the ‘flying car’, which takes up the space of two average cars, available by 2023 and overcome technological and mass production hurdles to make it a sustainable vehicle that can be used by people.
“We want to realize a society where flying cars are an accessible and convenient means of transportation in the skies and people are able to experience a safe, secure, and comfortable new way of life,” said CEO Tomohiro Fukuzawa.
Other Companies Racing To Make Flying Cars
Hyundai and Uber have been working on making flying taxis, with a launch in 2023. At least 20 companies, like Porsche, Boeing, Airbus, start-ups like Lilium, and others have also invested in trying to make flying vehicles the new norm.
But there is still a long way to go, with the need for infrastructure changes in cities to accommodate flying vehicles, lower maintenance costs, proper safety and of course, much lower prices.
The coronavirus pandemic has put a dampener on the efforts of most companies trying to work on new technology, but when restrictions ease, work will resume, bringing us closer to a world where flying cars will be a common sight.
Image Credits: Google Images
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