Japan accepts SkyDrive’s flying car type certification application [Updated]

SkyDrive flying car

(Correction, November 16: this story has been corrected to reflect the application acceptance, not initial granting of type certification application; and fix the name of the SD-05 craft involved.)

Japan’s advanced air mobility (AAM) company SkyDrive announced its application for type certification of its two seat flying car was accepted by Japanese authorities, the first craft of its kind to reach that milestone in the country according to the company

Tokyo-based SkyDrive said its application for type certification of its SD-05 flying car was accepted in late October by Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism (MLIT). The move means SkyDrive and the MLIT can work together on development plans for potential type certification, which verifies craft design, structure, strength, and performance. The process also evaluates vehicles involved on safety and environmental grounds, and is requisite for those to advance toward subsequent stages of evolution and – if they qualify – final authorization for production, distribution, and commercial operation.

The type certificate application was accepted after the SkyDrive’s SD-05 flying car had successfully navigated a number of studies and trials that tested, among other things, the craft’s strength and flight capacities. 

The company says acceptance of its application is the first in Japan for a vehicle of its kind. SkyDrive is hoping to obtain certification of the SD-05 in time to roll it out in 2025 at the Osaka-Kansai EXPO. Its SkyLift 30 kg payload cargo drone is already on the market and in use in construction, agriculture, industrial, and other heavy-lift oriented sectors.

Founded in 2018 by former Toyota executives, SkyDrive is a member of Japan’s Public-Private Council for Air Mobility Revolution, which is made up of researchers, government ministry officials, and executives of AAM, passenger airline, logistics, tech, and other companies. Their common goal is to establish business models and technical standards to quickly usher in commercial use of next generation aerial vehicles and services. 

SkyDrive says the acceptance of its type certificate application represents another step forward in that collective effort to reach Japan’s AAM future.

“SkyDrive and MLIT have been discussing how to safely develop and test this type of 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,” said SkyDrive 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 the wake of that development, SkyDrive said it had struck a partnership with EY Strategy and Consulting Co. that will provide the AAM company with advice and support in further developing its flying car business in Japan, and across international markets.

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