Japanese flying car developer, SkyDrive, has entered the final stages of testing its demonstration vehicle after it completed Japan’s first-ever manned test flights.

SkyDrive has completed its technical verification phase. Since launching an unmanned outdoor flight test in December 2018, it has conducted numerous technical verifications. This was followed by manned flight tests that started in December 2019 and completed safely in March 2020 – confirming the controllability and flight stability of the test aircraft. The next stage, which is starting now, involves feeding back improvements to technical design that were picked up during the manned operation of the aircraft.

Related: Leading flying car developer SkyDrive, established by the members of CARTIVATOR, a group of aircraft, drones, and automotive engineers, has secured 14 Million USD through Third-party share issuance funding and subsidies. A total of 18.5 Million USD has now been raised and manned test flights will begin this year.

SkyDrive looks set to launch its flying car to the Japanese market in 2023. Safety is a key priority and it will be following the same level of development management that is practiced by conventional aircraft manufacturers during the airworthiness certification phase.

One safety solution SkyDrive has been developing with the Cartivator team is a pilot seat mounted on a crumple-capable column of shock-absorbing metal. The design is inspired by the impact-absorbing design on a popular Japanese running shoe, the “Mizuno Wave”, and has the potential to minimize lumbar spine shock of a direct vertical drop.

The "Mizuno Wave" impact-absorbing seat support, developed by Cartivator and SkyDrive, is inspired by a popular Japanese running shoe

The “Mizuno Wave” impact-absorbing seat support, developed by Cartivator and SkyDrive, is inspired by a popular Japanese running shoe. Credit // Cartivator

The company, based in Shinjuku ku, Tokyo, has also unveiled leading aerospace engineer Nobuo Kishi as its Chief Technology Officer (CTO). Mr Kishi, who has held top posts at Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation, will take forward the final stages of testing. This airworthiness stage will involve testing the aircrafts suitability for safe flight.

In a press release, Nobuo Kishi, said:

“Throughout my career spanning four decades, I have gained considerable experience and knowledge in type certification, safety verification, project management, and system integration.

“I will help SkyDrive develop the flying car and bring it to the market. Together we will revolutionize the concept of air transport – benefitting both businesses and the lives of consumers.

“I would like to help take the industry forward by introducing a lean development process, while ensuring the same degree of safety as conventional aircraft, implementing advanced components, and employing innovative mass production processes learned from various industrial sectors.”

Why it’s important: Skydrive is on the leading edge of aerial mobility technology in Japan, and has a valuable combination of straight-forward, proven design characteristics as well as more far-reaching design ideas such as the Mizuno Wave shock absorption system. It remains to be seen how widely the company expands beyond Japan, but Skydrive’s strong funding and progress in testing has drawn attention across the globe.

Source // SkyDrive Press Release

Posted by George Gatsios

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