Nearly 15 years ago, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets dazzled us with a magical flying car. Now, that's almost a reality.
It’s not exactly a Camry with wings, but Toyota recently showed $375,000 worth of investment intrigue in SkyDrive, a compact, 9.5-foot-long vehicle somewhat reminiscent of a soap box car, but with three wheels and hover blades similar to a drone. The vehicle was created by Cartivator, a group of young car industry professionals who work on SkyDrive as volunteers inside of an old, closed-down Japanese elementary school.
“We aim to create [a] world where anyone can fly in the sky anytime by 2050,” the Cartivator website says, before adding that they hope to use a flying car to light the torch at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Target specs on the site suggest that SkyDrive engineers are aiming for a flight speed of about 62 miles per hour at a roughly 33-foot altitude, plus a driving speed of about 93 miles per hour. That’s slower than the speed of the up-and-coming electricity-powered jet from Lilium, which recently was shown to have a successful test flight. The Lilium Jet supposedly flies at about 186 miles per hour, according to its website, but the tradeoff is that the Lilium Jet is more plane than car.
“We want to establish and build a new means of transportation,” said Daniel Wiegand, co-founder and CEO of the Germany-based aeronautics group, in a promotional video for Lilium.
The jet takes off and lands vertically like a helicopter, which would allow drivers to park it much like a regular vehicle instead of having to land in an airplane runway every time.
Even so, its full-size prototype was shown off without any passengers in its two seats, according to Wired, and scientists will likely need several more years of flight testing before we can see something like this become commercially available.