Another intriguing virtual take-off and landing (VTOL) vehicle is receiving high-profile attention, this time from Toyota, which is investing into the SkyDrive Cartivator VTOL.
Toyota Plunks $375,000 Into The SkyDrive VTOL
Although Toyota has been resting on the success of its Prius for some time now, it decided to surprise us with not another hybrid or the fully electric vehicles (EV) everyone seems to ask Toyota to build, but it won’t.
Instead, Toyota decided to invest into a Japanese flying car research project — the SkyDrive Cartivator VTOL.
What the project aims to do is simple — show that flying cars are a reality and are aiming for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, where it hopes to light the Olympic Flame. Toyota invested no less than 42.5 million yen (a little over $380,000) in this. And the Cartivator project has a few interesting angles. This three-wheeled light VTOL, dubbed the SkyDrive, will show that flying cars can take off from anywhere and don’t have to be big either.
Technically Speaking, the SkyDrive With Cartivator VTOL
The SkyDrive Cartivator VTOL will use a four-propeller set design to get a 2.9 meter by 1.3 meter (9.5 foot by 4.5 foot) VTOL in the air. This will be the world’s smallest flying car. And there is much to say about this, since space and availability, as well as affordability, is what many traffic-jammed commuters are asking for. The SkyDrive Cartivator VTOL will have a top flight speed of 100 km/h (62 miles) at 10 meters (33 feet) high. But don’t despair, its land top speed will be much higher at 150 km/h (roughly 93 mph).
VTOLs are everywhere this year and availability and ease of use is what we’re looking for. So how is the SkyDrive Cartivator VTOL innovating in that aspect?
According to the Cartivator team, the SkyDrive Cartivator VTOL able to take off from public roads and able to be controlled by intuitive operation. We love that first part. However, we will wait until we see what is meant by “intuitive operations.” If the SkyDrive Cartivator VTOL is to come pick you up after you hail and go somewhere with very limited user input, that should be fairly easy. Most of those things can be done from a smartphone these days. However, anything more complicated will require much more forethought.
SkyDrive Cartivator VTOL — A Timeline
The SkyDrive Cartivator VTOL project started in 2012 when Representative Nakamura and his friends won the first prize at business contest “KOREARATA.” They named their team “CARTIVATOR.” After that, two years later, they started development of flying car “SkyDrive.” Seven months in, they had a 1/5 scale flying model. Another six months and they joined development with Mr.Hirano, associated with the Flying Chair project with Associate Prof. Miwa from Tokushima University. In 2015, they won the prize at “IVS Launch Pad 2016 Spring.” And this is where they are now, with Toyota investing in them, amongst a few other players.
SkyDrive Cartivator VTOL — The Right Recipe?
So far, we’ve seen flying taxi cars, driving helicopters and airplanes, and heck, even flying saucer-like VTOLs and bike-like VTOLs. What the SkyDrive Cartivator VTOL suggests, though, is something simple, something primal that should appease almost everyone’s needs. A small flying commuter, away from flying fortresses and other heavier projects. So, could this be the flying Prius?
Honto ne, homoshiroi desuka. Sugoi ne!
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