Japan has been a force in the world when it comes to technology. And with the country hosting the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, it appears they might showcase one of their most amazing inventions yet.
The country is working toward lighting the Olympic torch with a flying car. Yes, A FLYING CAR. The technology is being worked on in the country, but it’s still in the experimentation process.
Here’s some information about the company behind this flying car:
The group behind these plans is a company called Cart!vator, a team of about 20 young engineers that is conducting experiments at an abandoned elementary school in the mountains of the Aichi Prefecture. Tsubasa Nakamura, who founded the company in 2012, was given permission by the city of Toyota to use the school as a garage and testing facility. If the team can complete a true working model by the 2020 Olympics, it will be a crucial first step toward its ultimate goal.
“We aim to create (a) world where anyone can fly in the sky anytime by 2050,” reads the Cart!vator website. “To realize our vision, a compact flying car is necessary with a vertical takeoff and landing type, which does not need roads and runways to take off.”
Those sure are some lofty goals, Japan. Here’s what this car would look like:
The proposed layout for the car, which the company calls “SkyDrive,” is a single-seat electric vehicle design that will have one front wheel, two rear wheels, and a rotor in each of the four corners. Each rotor will consist of two propellers that will allow the car to take off and land vertically. The final product is expected to measure roughly three meters in length and 1.3 meters in width, which the company says will make it the world’s smallest flying car. If everything goes as planned, the company thinks that SkyDrive can be the next stage in the evolution of the personal automobile.
This would definitely clear up the roads and could be a definite benefit to countries with a poor infrastructure.
While I appreciate Japan’s effort, this is definitely a work in progress:
Of course, all those goals are still just dreams at this point. While the team technically has a functioning full-scale prototype, the current model can only fly at an altitude of one meter for a period of just five seconds, according to the Asahi Shimbun. The key to fixing that problem is to reduce the weight of the vehicle, which the group hopes to achieve by replacing the 180 kilogram aluminum frame with a 100 kilogram frame made of carbon fiber-reinforced plastic. The team is also trying to improve the computer program that controls the rotation rate of the propellers.
This does sound like Peak Olympics, however: Have everyone worried as hell about something going horribly wrong at the Olympics. Then, everyone gets there, and we all forget our worries and watch Team USA bring home a bunch of gold medals. It’s the Olympic tradition.
[Sports Illustrated; Photo Credit: Telegraph]