SkyDrive is partnering with Japan’s central government and officials in the western city of Osaka to advance plans for a so-called “Moving Revolution Society” that would see electric-powered eVTOL vehicles enter commercial service in 2023. The Japanese company announced that the partners met last week and agreed to expand their work under the auspices of the new Public-Private Conference for Future Air Mobility to support “flying car” operations in Osaka, which is the second most populous metropolitan area in Japan after Tokyo with an overall population of around 20 million people.
In 2025 the city will host the Osaka-Kansai Japan World Expo and SkyDrive views this a platform for establishing what it calls “full-scale” air mobility. The group, which in August achieved a first public, manned flight with its single-seat SD-03 vehicle, said that it intends to expand the partnership to include around 40 other companies and organizations.
Back in December 2018, the Public-Private Conference for Future Air Mobility released an initial roadmap that included plans to use eVTOL vehicles in roles such as urban transportation, tourism, emergency medical support and disaster relief operations. The conference is supported by Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry and also by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism.
The partners appear to have the support of key local officials in the Osaka area. At a meeting of the group on November 17, Osaka prefecture governor Hirofumi Yoshimura expressed enthusiasm for the proposed plans, commenting: “Osaka, and the bay area in particular, is suitable for the flying car business both geopolitically and as an economic hub. The spirit of Yatteminahare is valued in Osaka. Just get on with it.”
SkyDrive was launched in 2018 as part of Japan's Cartivator consortium to develop flying cars and unmanned cargo-carrying aircraft. The company has raised $60 million and its financial backers include major Japanese companies, such as NEC, Development Bank of Japan and Sumitomo Mitsui.