Compiled by the editorial staff of eVTOL.com


SkyDrive signs 100th corporate sponsor, plans summer flight demo

One hundred corporations have now signed up as sponsors of SkyDrive, the Japanese eVTOL developer announced on June 19.

SkyDrive eVTOL flight test
SkyDrive’s eVTOL prototype, shown here during crewed flight testing in March. SkyDrive Photo

SkyDrive, which grew out of the volunteer engineering group Cartivator, counts among its sponsors such leading companies as NEC Corp, Panasonic, and Sony PCL. Their support ranges from financial assistance to the provision of components, engineering advice, and human resources.

Now, with the assistance of its sponsors, SkyDrive is proceeding with plans to stage a public flight demonstration of its eVTOL prototype sometime this summer, with the date of the demonstration yet to be announced.

“On occasion, those of us who were pouring our time and energy into Cartivator’s flying car project as volunteers realized the limitations of privately funded development activities and wondered if our target of staging a flight demonstration in the summer of 2020 could be met,” stated SkyDrive president and Cartivator co-representative Tomohiro Fukuzawa.

“However, the generous support of our sponsors, which has come in the form of financial assistance, engineering expertise and insights, and human resources, has meant everything to us and enabled us to hang on to our dream and keep our project going,” he continued. “On behalf of the entire team, I would like once again to express my deepest gratitude to all of our sponsors and promise that we will remain fully committed to staging the flight demonstration scheduled for this summer.”

SkyDrive announced in early April that it had completed an initial stage of crewed flight testing with its prototype, which started in in December 2019 and ran through March of this year. At the time, Fukuzawa told eVTOL.com that SkyDrive had performed more than 500 crewed and uncrewed test flights, with a focus on low-speed, low-altitude evaluations of the aircraft’s stability and handling characteristics.

Like other players in the urban air mobility space, SkyDrive has the stated goal of certifying a passenger-carrying eVTOL by 2023, and is in early stages of certification discussions with the Japan Civil Aviation Bureau.

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