SkyDrive ranked first at the Startup World Cup Japan Regional competition, which took place in Tokyo, Japan on July 21, 2022. SkyDrive is a manufacturer of aerial mobility aircraft in Japan and is currently engaged in the development of a compact, two-seating electric-powered flying car with plans for full-scale production. The company aims to begin air taxi service during the 2025 World Exposition in Osaka, Japan, among service in other regions of Japan. The top start-ups from each regional competition will compete for a $1,000,000 prize at the Grand Finale which will be held in September in San Francisco, California.
SkyDrive was founded in July 2018 with the mission of “leading a once-in-a-century mobility revolution.” Since then, it has advanced the development of flying cars and cargo drones while working in partnership with others to promote the shared vision of a future in which people use air mobility as a means of transportation in their daily lives. SkyDrive advertises as the only company in Japan that has successfully conducted manned test flights and is now involved in designing a system for future air mobility as a member of Japan’s Public-Private Council for advanced air mobility. The company’s cargo drones, which can carry payloads of up to 30kg, are already being used at worksites in Japan, mainly in mountainous areas. SkyDrive is aiming to launch a flying car service in the Osaka Bay area in 2025.
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The Startup World Cup is a global conference and competition that brings together the top startups, VCs, entrepreneurs, and world-class tech CEOs. It partners with some of world’s largest conferences and tech events to host 70+ regional startup competitions for North America, Europe, Asia, South America, Africa, and Australia.
Notable to air taxi development in Japan, the Public-Private Council for Air Mobility Revolution was established in 2018. The project is expected to lead to taxi services in urban areas, new means of transportation for remote islands and mountainous areas, and emergency transportation in times of disaster. A roadmap has been formulated by the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry (METI) and the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism (MLIT) for the start of business in 2023 and full scale deployment in 2030.
Why it’s important: SkyDrive’s victory of the regional startup world cup competition reflects the company’s talents and substantial progress made along the developmental timeline of their aerial mobility aircraft. The victory also sets high expectations for the ultimate performance of the company at the World Cup finals later this year. More importantly, though, is the increased presence of aerial mobility and enabling technologies for the aerial mobility landscape within the greater startup and business growth sectors of both aviation and the larger scale transportation industry as a whole.