To the disappointment of many, flying cars are still not a reality. The economics of aviation fuel efficiency, where optimal efficiency is only obtained at high altitudes and high subsonic speeds, have so far meant commercial development is elusive.
A flying car that is also a cargo drone is a different concept, however, and SkyDrive Inc., a Japanese leading flying-car developer, has successfully launched test flights of a cargo drone that could revolutionize the way heavy goods are transported and speed up the movement of equipment in remote locations. The first operational testing took place in December in Toyota City, Japan. It was carried out to test the technology by moving heavy equipment in remote locations. Additional testing will be carried out later in the month.
This new technology has been tested with a load capacity of 30kg—utilizing SkyDrive’s world-leading aircraft development technology to achieve high safety standards. There is the potential to develop this further and achieve greater capacity loads of up to 50kg and 80kg, according to demand. The cargo drone also has the potential to change the way products are moved from manufacturers to warehouses and onto depots.
SkyDrive Chief Executive Tomohiro Fukuzawa said, “We are delighted to successfully test this world-leading technology. Our cargo drone has proven to deliver by safely lifting loads of up to 20kg in a mountainous area—saving time and money. We look forward to expanding on this success by testing heavier loads for customers in the future. Our quest is to create cutting-edge technology that will improve the productivity of businesses across the world—and today we celebrate a key milestone in making that happen.”
SkyDrive is developing the cargo drone for use in industries that carry heavy materials on complex terrain such as slopes, mountain valleys, overpasses, power transmission towers, civil engineering/construction sites, agricultural fields, etc. Usage of cargo drones will help avoid dangerous work, save personnel and save time, which might be part of the solution to Japanese labor shortages and declining productivity due to its declining population.
The cargo drone can be used to transport materials to hard-to-reach places such as slopes, mountain valleys, overpasses and steel tower maintenance sites.
Its basic specifications are:
- Total length 1.3m x total width 1.7m x total height 1.0m
- Recommended payload: 30kg
- Flight speed: 40km/h
- Flight time: 15min.
- Winch mechanism to move up and down without landing
SkyDrive is planning demonstration flights of the flying car for summer 2020, and a commercial release for 2023.
Source: SkyDrive Inc.