This Company Wants Its Flying Car To Light The Olympic Torch At Tokyo 2020

Artist's impression of the SkyDrive. Cartivator

Just to really drill it home that we are living in the future, a group of engineers are hoping their flying car could be used to light up the Olympic flame for the opening ceremony of the Tokyo 2020 Summer Games.

The Cartivator Skydrive, designed by a Japanese start-up with support from Toyota Motor Corp, was shown off by its developers on this week at Toyota City in Japan, as Reuters reports.

At the moment, the “flying car” is essentially just an oversized aerial drone that can only fly for a few seconds at a time. That’s because the vehicle’s size means that it currently struggles with stability. However, there are high expectations resting on the shoulders of this contraption. The start-up says they aim to carry out the first manned flight by the end of 2018, with the end goal of lighting the flame for Tokyo 2020.

It will eventually go on commercial sale, all being well, by 2025. Its main selling point will be its small size, meaning it’s easy for it to take off and land more or less anywhere it wishes. By 2050, the start-up wants to make flying cars accessible to everyone, anytime and anywhere.

A scaled down prototype of the SkyDrive. Cartivator

“As we brainstormed many different ideas,” Ryutaro Mori, the business director at Cartivator, told Red Bull, “we came to the conclusion that building a flying car and lighting the 2020 Olympic flame with the car will help to achieve that mission.”

Once fully developed, Skydrive could reach speeds of 150 kilometers (93 miles) per hour on land and 100 kilometers (62 miles) per hour in the skies.

The project has been running since 2014 with just 10 volunteers (all with their own full-time jobs) working on it. Toyota Motor is going to pump 42.5 million yen ($385,000) of investment into the project over the next three years.

However, they’ve got hot competition. In April this year, Slovakian company AeroMobil revealed they have plans to start pre-orders for their flying car within the next few months. Get saving, though, their flying machine is set to cost around €1.2 million to €1.5 million ($1.29 million to $1.61 million).

“Like other flying car developers, we think that ride-sharing is one of the keys to making flying cars accessible to all as a means of day-to-day transportation,” Mori added.

The full-sized prototype that isn't yet rideable. Cartivator

 

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