Toyota is currently working on developing a flying car, with a goal of having a single driver vehicle ready to fly before the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. The objective is to have the small flying car drive to the skies and deliver the Olympic torch for its last leg to officially open the games.
The flying car is being developed in collaboration with Cartivator Resource Management, a small tech company that Toyota funded around $400,000 just to help bring the project to life. The engineers have conducted a test flight that took place in a school field in central Japan.
"The goal of Cartivator's is to deliver a seamless transition from driving to flight, like the world of 'Back to the Future,'" project leader Tsubasa Nakamura said. "I always loved planes and cars. And my longtime dream was to have a personal vehicle that can fly and go many places."
The prototype flying car has managed to get up as high as eye level just for a few seconds before tilting and falling to the ground. However, after several attempts, the test had to be canceled after one of the covers was broken, damaging the propellers.
The team now is said to be working on a much better design with the money from Toyota with the aim to have the first manned flight in 2019. No one has yet ridden on the Sky Drive, as it would be too dangerous.
Meanwhile, other companies are now also competing to develop the first flying car or vertical take-off and landing vehicles. Uber Technologies has already announced its plan to launch its first flying taxi by 2020 in Texas, Dallas-Fort Worth, and Dubai. Also, Airbus Group is currently working on a flying car under its division called Urban Air Mobility.
Toyota has been researching a range of new tech and transportation options, which include luxury yachts under its Lexus brand. The automaker is also looking itself as an energy concern company, though it just terminated a partnership with Tesla.