By the end of 2023, NEC intends to have its management system for "flying car" operations ready for use with logistics services (i.e. cargo deliveries). It sees passenger-carrying operations beginning in the 2030s.
NEC launched its flying car program in 2018 with most of the work being done at the company’s Abiko plant in Japan. Leveraging the company’s technology and expertise in aerospace and cybersecurity, the large, four-propeller autonomous aircraft is designed for unmanned flights and is intended primarily for cargo deliveries.
In August 2019, a prototype of the car made an initial test flight. Reaching a height of 10 feet (3 meters), the flying car hovered for about one minute. As a safety precaution, the test was held in a giant cage located at an NEC facility outside of Tokyo. As of April 2020, the company was preparing to conduct further test flights at its Abiko facility.
As part of efforts to reduce weight, NEC's engineering team has developed an motor weighing just over 15 pounds (7 kg), which it says is significantly lighter than existing motors that are more than four times heavier.