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A Toyota-Backed Company Just Test Drove a Flying Car

SkyDrive takes its manned SD-03 vehicle for a little spin around the clouds.

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Futurama just got a little closer to being the future. 

A startup called SkyDrive released a video of a pilot flying a car over the Toyota Test Field in Toyota, Japan. Toyota finances the company, and the project has been years in the making. The ultimate goal: Create a flying taxi by 2023.

Kind of gives new meaning to the concept of Lyft. 

“Of the world’s more than 100 flying car projects, only a handful has succeeded with a person on board,” company CEO Tomohiro Fukuzawa told The Associated Press. “I hope many people will want to ride it and feel safe.”

Related: Toyota Invests $349 Million in Flying Taxi Startup

Traffic buster

The single-seat car is powered by a battery and four pairs of propellers. In the video, it lifts to six feet above the ground and hovers for roughly five minutes. Can't a drone do that? Maybe, but a human pilot manned this car, which makes this test flight particularly significant—and impressive.  

To date, the SD-03 can fly for only five to ten minutes at a low speed. But the next phase is to pump it up to 40 mph at a flight duration of 30 minutes. 

The car is 13-feet long and six-feet high, enabling it to fit into two average parking spaces in a congested city.

“In developed countries, flying cars are expected to be used as a means of transportation to ease traffic jams and respond in times of disaster, while in developing countries they are likely to be used as a form of transportation that requires far less infrastructure,” the company said in a press release.

 

 

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