Flying Car Company Seeks FAA Certification; Tokyo Based

The application is for the SkyDrive three-seat electric aerial vehicle and was submitted via Japan’s Civil Aviation Bureau

Chuck Martin, Editorial Director AI & IoT

June 18, 2024

4 Min Read
The SkyDrive eVTOL aircraft in the sky.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has accepted a type certification application from Japanese eVTOL (electric vertical takeoff and landing) vehicle maker SkyDrive.

The application is for the SkyDrive three-seat electric aerial vehicle (EAV) and was submitted via Japan’s Civil Aviation Bureau (JCAB).

SkyDrive established a U.S. subsidiary in 2023 in preparation for its entry into the U.S. market.

The EAV maker has a strategic alliance with Volatus Infrastructure and the two companies have been working on an advanced mobility infrastructure in South Carolina, the U.S. home base for SkyDrive.

“Our development team has been working on both aircraft development and type certification activities in parallel,” said Tomohiro Fukuzawa, CEO of SkyDrive. “We are very grateful to the Japan Civil Aviation Bureau for supporting our application and looking forward to a successful FAA type certification. 

“This collaboration allows us to advance our certification processes in both Japan and the United States simultaneously. With the FAA’s experience in the certification process of several eVTOLs and the JCAB already advancing the certification of our aircraft, we aim to work together to create a future where our eVTOL can operate commercially around the world.”

Related:Flying Car Company Sells Air Taxis to Charter Service

SkyDrive aims to obtain FAA type certification along with its expected JCAB type certification in 2026 or later.

SkyDrive recently agreed to sell five of its flying vehicles to a private charter service operator in Augusta, Georgia.

SkyDrive and Bravo Air also formed a partnership to develop use cases from Augusta Regional Airport to scale advanced air mobility (AAM) in the region.

The Bravo Air deal expands SkyDrive beyond South Carolina and into Georgia.

SkyDrive intends to establish an EAV air taxi network connecting Augusta Regional Airport to destinations across the region.

SkyDrive has started production of its flying vehicle at a Suzuki manufacturing plant in Shizuoka, Japan.

The SkyDrive SD-05 vehicle, which SkyDrive refers to as a flying car, is being built by Sky Works, the SkyDrive manufacturing division, in partnership with Suzuki.

The Suzuki manufacturing plant has the capability to produce 100 of the three-seater EAVs per year.

SkyDrive recently agreed to sell its EAVs to an aerial tourism association in Japan and received a preorder for 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 flying vehicle. 

Related:Flying Car Production Starts at Suzuki Plant; 100 Vehicles a Year

Other showrooms for EAVs are in preparation, such as by Florida-based Aeroauto Mobile, which has two being readied in Florida and one being developed 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 develop high-speed charging facilities for EAVs with the first station planned for this year.

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

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

SkyDrive last year received $82 million in a grant from the Japanese government, when the country’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry selected SkyDrive for the Next Generation Air Mobility Field, 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’s stated vision is “to create a future where everyone has access to eVTOLs as their daily transportation in Japan and across the world.”

SkyDrive has a deal to sell up to 50 EAVs to 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.

Read more about:

Flying Cars

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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