In a significant stride towards advancing aerial mobility, SkyDrive Inc., a prominent Japanese electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft manufacturer, has been awarded a substantial innovation grant by the Japanese government. The Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry (METI) has selected SkyDrive to partake in the “Next-generation Air Mobility Field” under the Small and Medium Enterprise Innovation Promotion Project (SBIR Phase 3), providing the company with a substantial sum of approximately 12.4 billion yen (equivalent to around USD 82.67 million). This grant is earmarked for the development of groundbreaking technologies aimed at fostering future social implementation, with an emphasis on reducing traffic congestion and lowering emissions.
The SBIR program is an initiative hosted by the Japanese government that supports startups working on advanced technologies that address critical societal challenges. The program encourages research and development projects that exhibit high growth potential and promise to make a positive impact on society, aligning with SkyDrive’s vision of transforming daily transportation with eVTOLs.
SkyDrive has made leading eVTOL innovations in the past years and is currently developing a two-passenger and pilot multicopter-type eVTOL aircraft with a MTOW of less than 1.5 tons. This aircraft is designed to be safe, quiet, and environmentally friendly, with a unique patent-pending rotor frame technology that enables rooftop landings, making it an accessible and cost-effective mode of transportation for different types of customers.
With this newfound substantial support from the Japanese government through the SBIR program, SkyDrive aims to meet market demands and obtain Type Certification for commercial operation within the next five years. This financial boost will accelerate the company’s research and development efforts, primarily focused on enhancing the performance, safety, and efficiency of their eVTOL aircraft. Additionally, the grant will aid in the development of new technologies and systems necessary for the successful deployment of eVTOLs, not only in Japan but also globally.
Why it’s important: With plans to commence production in collaboration with Suzuki Motor Company in the spring of 2024, SkyDrive is well on its way to realizing a future where aerial mobility becomes more commonplace. This innovation grant signifies a crucial milestone in this journey, highlighting the Japanese government’s commitment to fostering cutting-edge technologies and advancing the field of aerial mobility. As Japan embraces the future of transportation, this grant to SkyDrive is a testament to substantial dedication to driving innovation and enhancing the quality of life for Japanese citizens and travelers around the globe through aerial mobility solutions.
For more information about SkyDrive and their eVTOL technology, visit SkyDrive’s official website.