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SkyDrive secures new financing for flying car development

The flying car developer SkyDrive announced this week that it has secured another US$14 million in financing, which will allow it to continue its progress toward flight tests with humans on board.

SkyDrive team
The SkyDrive team is working towards its first manned flight test later this year. SkyDrive Photo

Based in Japan, SkyDrive was established by the members of Cartivator, a group of aircraft, drone, and automotive engineers. The group conducted its first, unmanned flight test of a flying car in December 2018 and has continued testing through 2019. In June of this year, it opened a flight testing field in Toyota City with the cooperation of Toyota City and Aichi Prefecture.

Although a SkyDrive promotional video envisions true flying cars — capable of navigation both on the ground and in the air — the company also uses the phrase as “a general term for mobility with electric, autopilot, and vertical take-off and landing functions,” according to a press release.

With its latest round of investment, SkyDrive has now raised a total of US$18.5 million. Contributing venture capital partners include Drone Fund, Z Corporation, STRIVE III Limited Liability Partnership, ITOCHU Technology Ventures, Inc. and Energy & Environment Investment, Inc. STRIVE III president Tatsuo Tsutsumi will assume a role as SkyDrive’s outside director.

“We are delighted to be able to announce this financing breakthrough, which is testament to our hardworking team and speed of development,” stated SkyDrive chief executive Tomohiro Fukuzawa. “Securing the backing of these investors will be instrumental in getting our world-leading technology off the ground and into the skies.”

Cartivator flight test
SkyDrive and Cartivator have been conducting unmanned flight testing since December 2018. SkyDrive Photo

Drone Fund co-representative Kotaro Chiba noted that SkyDrive has been making steady progress since its first flight, adding, “We are also actively involved in rule making, such as participating in public-private councils for the sky mobility revolution.”

SkyDrive said it is aiming to start manned flight tests later this year. The next phase in its expansion plan is “to recruit talented and passionate people to achieve the collective goal of bringing ‘flight to all,’” and its new funding will support those efforts, the company said.

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