The Japanese city of Osaka this week launched a joint project with flying car and drone developer SkyDrive to explore applications for its electric vehicles. Under a new agreement signed by both the prefectural and city governments, officials will cooperate with the Tokyo-based start-up to promote economic revitalization of the large metropolitan area and strengthen resources for functions such as disaster relief and emergency response.
The local authorities have approved plans for SkyDrive to conduct test flights with the SD-03 at an as-yet-unspecified date in the Osaka area. The company will share data from these flight trials with city officials and other stakeholders through a group called the Osaka Roundtable for Social Implementation of the Air Mobility Revolution, which was established in November 2020.
The partners have also agreed to jointly stage seminars, workshops, and other events to raise awareness and present educational opportunities for students. Osaka officials say they intend to encourage other advanced air mobility start-ups to establish operations in the area.
One of the main goals for the project will be to advance plans for air taxi services across the Osaka Bay region, which could start in time for the Expo 2025 Osaka Kansai event. “We are working together to prepare the ground for service providers and [verti]port operators to engage in concrete discussions regarding this plan while also gaining a deeper understanding of local residents and improving social acceptance of flying cars,” the partners said in a joint statement.
SkyDrive started working with Osaka officials on related plans in 2020. Ground infrastructure developer Skyports is also involved in related studies.