Toyota investing in flying car project with takeoff scheduled for next year

Japanese car firm backs jet-propelled 'Skydrive' cars that could light 2020 Olympic flame

Greg Wilford
Sunday 14 May 2017 18:12 BST
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The Japanese firm hopes to turn the ‘Back to the Future II’ vision into reality
The Japanese firm hopes to turn the ‘Back to the Future II’ vision into reality

Toyota is set to finance a flying car project that could take flight by 2018.

The Japanese car firm will give engineers £274,000 to develop jet-propelled vehicles that will travel up to 10 metres from the ground.

Drone technology is being used to power the three-wheeled prototypes, which measure just nine-and-a-half feet by four feet, and have a projected top speed of 62mph.

The so-called "Skydrive" cars have been masterminded by crowdfunded group Cartivator, based in Japan.

A group of Toyota engineers had been working for them voluntarily, according to the Nikkei Asian Review.

They hope early models could be used to light the Olympic flame at the 2020 summer games in Tokyo, with a manned test flight planned for the end of 2018.

Other firms in the US, China, Germany, and the Netherlands have been attempting to develop flying cars.

Lilium, a Munich-based group backed by Skype co-founder Niklas Zennström, completed successful test flights of a flying five-seater taxi in April.

The company says their jet has a range of 190 miles and a top speed of 186mph.

Regulators will have to be convinced the vehicles can be used safely before they develop a licensing system and new laws that would allow them to be commericalised.

Global tech giants including Google and Tesla are said to be interested in the new technology.

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