Arthur J. Villasanta – Fourth Estate Contributor
Tokyo, Japan (4E) – Japan tries to gain more ground in the new and profitable field of flying-cars with a promise to draw-up a comprehensive roadmap for its development by the end of this year.
The partnership to get Japan’s future flying cars on a glide path to success involves the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) plus with 21 corporations and institutions. Japan’s goal will be to make flying cars a flying reality by 2028.
ANA (Japan’s largest airline), Japan Airlines, Toyota Motor Corporation and NEC Corporation are among the dozen Japanese corporate behemoths leading the flying car effort. Partnering them are aviation heavyweight The Boeing Company and Airbus Industries, and ride hailing firm Uber, which is also developing its own flying cars.
“This is such a totally new sector Japan has a good chance for not falling behind,” said Fumiaki Ebihara, who is in charge of the project. Ebihara is a Consulting Fellow and Director, Aerospace and Defense Industry Division, Manufacturing Industries Bureau of METI.
“You may think of ‘Back to the Future,’ ‘Gundam,’ or ‘Doraemon,'” said Ebihara, referring to flying carss in Hollywood movies and Japanese anime. “Up to now, it was just a dream, but with innovations in motors and batteries, it’s time for it to become real.”
Toyota recently invested $375,000 in Japanese start-up, Cartivator, which is working on a flying car. Toyota and Cartivator plans to have one of their flying cars light the torch at the 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo.
Cartivator won Toyota’s backing in mid-2017 with its Cartivator Skydrive concept. Ryutaro Mori, the business director at Cartivator, said Skydrive is being designed from the start to be as compact as possible. He boasted Skydrive “is the world’s smallest flying car, and the small size enables people to take off and land anywhere.”
He pointed out that flying-cars will be completely autonomous, just like autonomous cars. And even if government regulations require pilots fly these flying-cars at first, these pilots will constantly be augmented by semi-autonomous flight systems for additional safety.
Mori said the fun of driving and flying won’t go away. There will be flying cars for leisure that you can manually drive and fly safely.
Japan has shown much enthusiasm for Uber’s work on EVtol machines while denying the ride hailing company a license to operate in the country. Uber is considering Tokyo as its first launch city for affordable flights via its UberAir service.
Article – All Rights Reserved.
Provided by FeedSyndicate