SkyDrive takes to the sky with manned eVTOL and raises $48M in funding

SkyDrive, a Japanese eVTOL manufacturer that previously has produced a cargo drone capable of carrying 30kg loads, has achieved success on August 25th when it first flew its SD-03, a manned urban air mobility vehicle marketed as a flying car. The flight took place at the Toyota Test Field and was the first public flying car demonstration in Japan.

The single-seater powered by 8 electric motors on four arms circled the field, which fenced in for protection of the spectators, for about four minutes. It was being flown by the pilot on board with assistance from a stabilization system, but technical staff on the ground was ready to intervene and take control remotely at any point if necessary.

SkyDrive says it is the world’s smallest eVTOL aircraft, with a footprint of 4 by 4 meters and 2 meters high. It sees this as the next mode of transportation, and uses white and red lights, similar to a car, to make bystanders aware of its orientation. The company hopes to evolve the flight testing to outside of the Toyota Test Field before the end of the year, and foresees the final product being operational in fiscal year 2023.

Quickly after the successful first flight, the company secured $48M in funding from the Development Bank of Japan and nine other investors during their second round of fundraising. This brings the total number of shareholders to twelve.

On their website, Skydrive shows the SD-XX concept model as a vision of what they think the flying car of the future could look like.

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