Suzuki supports SkyDrive’s development of eVTOL flying cars
Japanese auto and motorcycle giant Suzuki said it is joining forces with aerial vehicle company SkyDrive in the latter’s efforts to produce an electric take-off and landing (eVTOL) flying car for aerial uses. urban air mobility such as air taxis.
The two companies announced their tie-up in a terse statement on Tuesday, revealing few details beyond their goal of developing SkyDrive’s eVTOL flying car concept into full-scale production and commercialization. As one of Japan’s leading auto companies, Suzuki’s manufacturing and marketing clout would logically offer its new startup partner some serious muscle once the project – now in prototype stage – clears certification and enters in the commercial manufacturing phase.
SkyDrive has previously said it aims to navigate this process in time to introduce its eVTOL flying car into air taxi service at the 2025 Osaka World Expo. It would expand these operations nationwide thereafter. .
SkyDrive was founded in 2018 by former Toyota executives with the ambition to “lead a once-in-a-century mobility revolution”. Since then, the company has been developing both passenger-carrying eVTOL craft and selling its industrial-grade cargo drones with a maximum payload capacity of 30 kg.
Last year, it announced that its application for type certification of its prototype two-seat SD-05 flying car had been accepted by Japanese authorities – the first such craft to reach this milestone in the country, according to the society. This paved the way for SkyDrive to begin working with authorities on development plans for potential type certification of the planned flying car, which verifies the design, structure, strength and performance of the eVTOL, and assesses safety and environmental criteria.
By partnering with SkyDrive, Suzuki seems determined to accelerate this development process and provide the startup with considerable industrial and marketing advantages during its transition to the production phase.
“SkyDrive and Suzuki will begin to consider collaborating in business and technology areas that include technology R&D, planning of manufacturing and mass production systems, overseas market development with an initial focus on India, and promotion of efforts to achieve carbon neutrality,” the press release reads, noting Suzuki’s experience in the car, motorcycle and outboard motor markets. “Partnering with SkyDrive will provide opportunities for Suzuki to explore and potentially add flying cars as a fourth mobility business.”
In addition to its SD-05 prototype, SkyDrive is also working on an SD-XX flying car concept model.
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