Toyota's flying car project takes a tentative test flight
6 June 2017 - Autoblog
Toyota is working on developing flying cars, with the aim of having a single driver vehicle ready to fly in time for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.
The idea is that a small flying car will be able to smoothly transition from driving to the skies, in order to delivery the Olympic torch for its last leg to officially open the games.
The project isn't yet ready to dazzle the world, as you can see in the Associated Press video above. This early prototype of the car is basically structural scaffolding, batteries and rotors, but it does manage to get about head height before ungracefully returning to earth.
The flying car is being created in partnership with Cartivator Resource Management, a small tech company that Toyota invested nearly $400,000 in to help bring this project to life. This test flight took place at a school field in central Japan, near Toyota's own home base.
Toyota has been exploring a range of new tech and transportation options, including luxury yachts under its Lexus brand. The company is also re-imagining itself as an energy concern -- though it just ended a partnership with Tesla it had entered into to co-develop electric vehicle technologies last week.
Next steps for the flying car project include refining the design using the new money invested by Toyota, and hoping to fly with a pilot on board sometime in 2019, ahead of the intended launch of a fully functional vehicle in time for Tokyo's 2020 Olympic games.