The Future of Advanced Air Mobility

Japanese Type Certification of SkyDrive Personal eVTOL Gets Underway

SkyDrive says it now expects its personal eVTOL aircraft to enter service in 2025 after Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism (MLIT) last week accepted its application for a type certificate. The company previously said it aimed to complete the approval process by the end of 2023, but now accepts that more time is needed.

According to SkyDrive, it is the first flying car developer to have its type certification application accepted by the regulator. The MLIT, which includes the Japan Civil Aviation Bureau, will evaluate the single-seat, all-electric SD-05 for environmental performance as well as for airworthiness.

SD-05 is the company's designation for the version of the vehicle that will be evaluated for type certification purposes. It builds on the earlier SD-03 version, which started flight testing in 2020, but SkyDrive has yet to release an image of either this model or the eventual production version that is provisionally designated as the SD-XX.

“SkyDrive and MLIT have been discussing how to safely develop and test this aircraft since the public-private council to promote urban air mobility was launched in Japan in 2018, and SkyDrive received permission for the first outdoor test flight of its flying car,” explained the company’s CEO Tomohiro Fukuzawa. “We are very pleased that our application for type certification has been accepted and we will continue to work in close partnership with the government and MLIT to complete our development of a wholly safe and reliable flying car.”

In August, SkyDrive raised ¥3.9 billion ($31 million) in a Series B funding round to support its development of urban air mobility technology, including flying cars and cargo drones. The start-up, which was founded in 2018 and now has cargo drones with payloads in excess of 30 kg (66 pounds) working at industrial sites, has now raised more than $50 million.