When it comes to the Olympics, for some people the sports competition is the second thing that comes to their mind, because the first place is taken by the inauguration show, and the big question: “what are these people going to do this year?”. It’s no secret that the preliminary act is a competency itself between host countries: everyone wants to be the biggest, the craziest the more unforgettable one or all of the above. And the crowd loves it.
Funnily enough, this year we have a clue of what might happen, and even though it’s a big spoiler, it doesn’t ruin it for anyone. This information just increases our desire to know what is going to happen in 2020… FLYING CARS. (Beat that, next hosting country).
Well, more like flying car, but yup, that’s right. The project started in 2014, its name is SkyDrive, and it’s being developed by Cartivator, a Japanese startup with about 30 engineers, including some young Toyota employees.
The vehicle looks really similar to a drone, and it’s aimed to carry one person only. It’s about 2,9 meters long, and it has managed to rise around 10 meters high and move at speeds of up to 100 kilometers per hour for a couple of seconds. Clearly, this is nowhere near the finest of aviation, however, according to Tsubasa Nakamura of Cartivator, the group plans to have a prototype ready in 2018, for being tested with a pilot.
The project was funded by multiple sources. Toyota was the last one to go in with about 40 million Yen ($353,000). Also, Taizo Son, the founder of Japanese web game developer GungHo Online Entertainment chipped in, and about 2.5 million Yen ($22,000) was collected with via crowdfunding.
Toyota seems to be the biggest contributor, they are not only giving money but also human resources. According to Takeshi Uchiyamada, Toyota’s chairman, the company is interested in investing in new technologies to progress, not keep spending on things that already exist.
Bright looking future
Cartivator also announced that they are hoping to have flying cars on the market for 2025. Moreover, other companies started to share the view. On April, Uber announced associations it did to, hopefully, run some demonstrations of a futuristic way of traveling using small aerial vehicles. Even Larry Page, co-founder of Google, confessed he is seduced by the idea and could support related projects.
Of course, the first selling model seems to be a very modest one. Something to go around the city. Nothing that would let us forget about the airplanes yet, but still future appears to be closer than what we might think and it is definitely exciting to hear about it from experts.
YouTube: Carticator Skydrive Concept Video
Photo credit: Cartivator
Source: Carticator website / Danielle Demetriou (Telegraph) / Peter Lyon (Forbes)