Flying Car Company Partners for Aerial Tourism in Japan

Two organizations plan to deploy electric aerial vehicles to aid in a region’s economic growth

Chuck Martin, Editorial Director AI & IoT

November 13, 2023

3 Min Read
SkyDrive's SD-05 eVTOL flying vehicle.

A Japanese eVTOL (electric vertical takeoff and landing) vehicle maker has agreed to sell flying vehicles to an aerial tourism association in Japan.

SkyDrive received the preorder for its flying vehicles from the MASC General Incorporated Association, a group dedicated to promoting aerial tourism in Setouchi Islands in western Japan.

SkyDrive and MASC agreed to work together to develop commercial operations and explore potential suburban routes for the SkyDrive SD-05 eVTOL craft. 

The two organizations plan to fully deploy electric aerial vehicles (EAV) in the Setouchi Islands with the involvement of local stakeholders to aid in the region’s economic growth and sustainable development.

MASC has established a dedicated exhibition hall as an educational showroom with a display of an eVTOL in Kurashiki City. 

Other showrooms for EAVs have opened, such as by Florida-based Aeroauto. which has two in Florida and one coming in Austin, Texas. A showroom also has been opened in Germany by EAV developer Pal-V.

SkyDrive recently partnered with the Kansai Electric Power Company (KEPCO) to jointly develop high-speed charging facilities for EAVs with the first station planned for 2024.

Tokyo-based SkyDrive and KEPCO started working together in 2022 leading to the new joint development project.

Related:Flying Car Designed to Land on Rooftops; Japan Grants $82M

KEPCO now plans to enter the advanced air mobility (AAM) charging infrastructure business and has started accepting pre-orders from domestic and international customers for its charging structures.

SkyDrive recently received $82 million in a grant from the Japanese government.

The country’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry selected SkyDrive for the Next Generation Air Mobility Field, as part of an innovation promotion project.

The grant is a Japanese government initiative to support startup companies working on advanced technologies that address challenges in society.

SkyDrive plans for its three-seater flying cars to be manufactured at a Suzuki plant starting next spring.

Up to 100 of the SkyDrive flying vehicles could be created annually at the subsidiary Sky Works at the Suzuki-owned plant in Iwata-city, Shizuoka.

SkyDrive and Suzuki formed a strategic partnership last year to collaborate on business and technology research and development, manufacturing and mass production systems and the development of international markets.

SkyDrive’s stated vision is “to create a future where everyone has access to eVTOLs as their daily transportation in Japan and across the world.”

“It features a unique patent pending rotor frame technology that allows it to land on rooftops, making it suitable and accessible aircraft for family, friends and commuters with an affordable operating cost per person,” according to SkyDrive.

Related:Flying Cars to Be Produced at Suzuki Factory; Subsidiary Formed

SkyDrive has a deal to sell up to 50 electric aerial vehicles (EAV) to an aircraft leasing company Solyu in Korea, which is in the business of aircraft leasing and financing and aims to use EAVs to aid the severe traffic congestion there.

SkyDrive was established in 2018 and conducted its first crewed flight test in Japan in 2019.

The company has applied for certification from Japan’s Civil Aeronautics Law, which has to approve the design, structure, strength and performance of any newly developed aircraft.

SkyDrive earlier teamed with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency to improve noise reduction on eVTOL vehicles. 

While electric engines enable lower noise operations, SkyDrive aims to create EAVs that take off and land in neighborhoods and be used as a daily form of transportation.

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About the Author(s)

Chuck Martin

Editorial Director AI & IoT

Chuck Martin, author of "Flying Vehicles," New York Times Business Bestselling author and futurist, is Editorial Director at Informa Tech, home of AI Business, IoT World Today and Enter Quantum. Martin has been a leader in emerging digital technologies for more than two decades. He is considered one of the foremost emerging technology experts in the world and his latest book title "Flying Vehicles" (The Emergence of Personal Air Travel, Flying Cars, and Air Taxis) followed "Digital Transformation 3.0" (The New Business-to-Consumer Connections of The Internet of Things).  He hosts a worldwide podcast titled “The Voices of the Internet of Things with Chuck Martin,” where he converses with top executives from the companies driving the adoption of emerging technology.

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