She should have made her debut at the Olympic Games in Tokyo (Japan) this summer, but the global health crisis has shaken everything in its path. The "flying car", as its designer, SkyDrive, a start-up financed by the Japanese car manufacturer Toyota, has called it a little misnomer, made its first pilot flight on August 31 in the city of Toyota.
Four minutes five meters from the ground
As often with this type of test, the flight did not last very long (four minutes). The device is not mounted very high (five meters) either. The SD-03 was managed remotely by a computer control system, which supported the pilot by stabilizing the aircraft, while technical teams monitored the progress of the tests live.
"Flying car", a marketing concept
In fact, it is not a "flying car", but a VTOL or adav (vertical takeoff and landing aircraft). It was able to take off thanks to eight rotors powered by as many electric motors. Four meters long and two wide, the machine is presented by the manufacturer as the smallest ADAV in the world.
By 2023, the manufacturer wants to develop a two-seater device and improve its performance (Toyota wants to achieve 30 minutes of autonomy at 60 km / h). A schedule that corresponds to that given by the Japanese government to deploy a flying taxi service in densely populated cities such as Tokyo or Osaka.
In France, such projects are carried out in particular by Airbus, with its CityAirbus, for which a test flight took place in early August, without a pilot.