Flying cars are not too late from existing in our daily lives. Different companies around the world have increased their R&D on Japan flying car in 2020. Due to the current advancement in technology it has led to the creation of much better component designs. Previously, the industry suffered from many hardware limitations. In the 1880s, the automobile was the latest achievement in automobile transport, and two decades later, the Wright brothers took humanity to the skies with the first successful aircraft. For over a century, the question has been asked; could we successfully merge the two technologies? Let’s figure out in this topic below.
First Flying Car
The first serious attempt was made in 1917 by the aviator Glen Curtis. A rare-mounted four-blade propeller powered his auto plane. It did leave the ground, but it couldn’t achieve full flight. The next notable design was the aero car by the inventor Malt Taylor. It successfully flew in 1949, but only six were ever built. Over the decades, many have tried to crack the flying car’s code, but no one has succeeded yet. Recently, a team out of Japan showed its Japan’s newest flying car effort to achieve this dream. But will they succeed?
This article doesn’t only talk about the topic of Japanese flying car but also incorporates the wider electric aircraft market. We are going to uncover some problems and solutions. In the month of August 2020, Japan showcased a flying car built by the company named ‘Skydrive’ who was sponsored by Toyota. The vehicle is powered by eight independent electric motors and has been in development since 2014. Though it was only publicly demonstrated for the first time in August, when you look at the car’s design, it doesn’t quite look like the flying car from Harry Potter. It does look like a passenger drone more than an actual motor vehicle. But in Skydrive’s defense, this is just the Japan test flying car phase. The next step will be to add wheels to the design, according to a spokesperson at Skydrive.
He explained that the company wanted to ensure the difficult flight function is achieved as a first step. They will later develop the prototype with wheels. The driving function is aimed at a late 2020 window. The hard part is to make the thing fly and then stick the wheels later on it. Flying is a trivial task in comparison to the latter. The company further expressed that it can add more value to places like Asia and Japan because the land in these regions is small, and it isn’t easy to land and take off from there.
Skydrive aims to go for a commercial flight in 2023. The final product will cost around $400,000. They hope to decrease the cost by 2030. Skydrive’s unique selling point is that this product is one of the most compact and light flying car designs.
Several companies like Airbus and Toyota are developing similar technology. Porsche is teaming up with Boeing, and in January, Hyundai and Uber announced that they were collaborating for an all-electric air taxi. Small electric aircraft can be a thing in one form or another due to its efficiency. Analysts at Morgan Stanley state that they anticipate urban air taxis to be in common use by 2040, with an expected global market of about $ 1.5 trillion.
Why are electric aircraft growing popular?
To put it shortly, fewer emissions, cheaper running costs, and more straightforward maintenance. Electric aviation has the promise of significantly reducing the financial and environmental costs of existing air transport. According to the Australian Airport Association, the biggest airline costs are fuel and maintenance. Fuel makes up about 27% and maintenance 11%. The running cost of powering up an electric aircraft is low, and they are intrinsically less complicated than their fuel counterparts too. Less moving parts and a simpler design mean less need for maintenance. Electric aircraft could also improve the efficiency of local airports and allow airports in more diverse locations. Today a lot of airports often have to comply with pollution regulations.
It causes a curfew for when aircraft can take off or land. The result is possible congestion throughout the rest of the operational period. With electric aircraft’s, airports are freed from these restrictions improving efficiency, reducing costs, and the added benefit of being placed nearer to city centres. It even opens up opportunities for new kinds of work arrangements. However, this has become less relevant recently, with more people working from home these days. In the broader picture, it’s not all roses for the emerging industry.
Let’s take a look at some problems
Firstly, batteries are the key issue affecting the uptake of electric aircraft’s is the need to ensure enough battery energy density to support commercial flights. Recently, graphene solid-state and aluminium air are looking likely to be used mainly in the next few years. By 2022, nine-seat planes could be doing short-haul flights about five hundred to a thousand kilometres. For example, the Israeli firm ‘Aviation’ has built a nine-passenger aircraft that is rated to fly up to a 1000 kilometres at an altitude of three thousand meters and a speed of four hundred and forty kilometres an hour.
What comes next?
All this is leading us one step closer to an airborne electric air taxi feature. Why did it fail in the past? The reasons are: power plants were too heavy and too noisy, electric motors were not prolific and low weight, carbon fibre structures didn’t exist. The vehicles of the past were trying to be all things. They were trying to be a good car and a good aircraft. Unfortunately, they compromised on both of those design challenges. Why will it succeed in the future? Things have changed. We now have high power density batteries, we have low mass electric motors, we have low noise fans, and we have lightweight carbon composite structures. Today, about one hundred and twenty of these concept vehicles exist and are increasing at about one a week. It makes the possibility of the first Japanese flying car 2020 to be much more close to happening than ever.