The first human piloted drone test was carried out and made public via video, the Japanese company SkyDrive. The SD-03 is the smallest vertical take-off and landing vehicle (EVTOL). It is 4 meters long and wide and almost 2 meters high. It takes up as much ground space as two parked cars, making it ideal for use in the city.
The single-seater SD-03 aircraft, equipped with eight propellers, flew over the test area for about four minutes. Currently, the prototype vehicle can only fly for 5 to 10 minutes at a relatively low speed. The next goal is to increase its speed to 65 km/h and extend flight time to 30 minutes.
Battery sizes, air traffic control and other infrastructure issues are among the challenges that manufacturers will have to face in commercialisation of the vehicle.
SkyDrive currently presents the prototype vehicle as an individual short-range mode of transport and hopes to receive flight approval before the end of the year and put it on the market by 2023.
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The company has already attracted funding of about $37 million, with primary investors Toyota, Panasonic and video game company Bandai Namco and bank of Japan.