Aircraft

SkyDrive's SD-03 single-seat eVTOL aces first public test flight

SkyDrive's SD-03 single-seat e...
The SD-03 made its public flight debut on August 25 at the Toyota test field in Japan's Aichi prefecture
The SD-03 made its public flight debut on August 25 at the Toyota test field in Japan's Aichi prefecture
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SkyDrive says the clean white color of the SD-03 were inspired by "white birds and the floating clouds in the sky"
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SkyDrive says the clean white color of the SD-03 were inspired by "white birds and the floating clouds in the sky"
The SD-03 electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft features four sets of counter-rotating rotors, each driven by its own electric motor
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The SD-03 electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft features four sets of counter-rotating rotors, each driven by its own electric motor
No performance figures as yet, but the SD-03 sure has a sporty look
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No performance figures as yet, but the SD-03 sure has a sporty look
Striking white lighting to the front and sporty lines to the pearl white body
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Striking white lighting to the front and sporty lines to the pearl white body
The SD-03 made its public flight debut on August 25 at the Toyota test field in Japan's Aichi prefecture
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The SD-03 made its public flight debut on August 25 at the Toyota test field in Japan's Aichi prefecture
View gallery - 5 images

After taking to the air in April on what was billed Japan's first manned multirotor test flight, Tokyo-based SkyDrive has now revealed that its new slicker SD-03 model made its first public demonstration flight earlier this week.

The single-seat SD-03 electric vertical take-off and landing vehicle measures two meters high, four meters in length and four meters wide (6.56 x 13.1 x 13.1 ft), or about the footprint of two parked cars. It features a sporty exterior in pearl white, with funky H-shaped white lights to the front and a red T-shaped light to the rear.

SkyDrive says the clean white color of the SD-03 were inspired by "white birds and the floating clouds in the sky"
SkyDrive says the clean white color of the SD-03 were inspired by "white birds and the floating clouds in the sky"

There are two sets of counter-rotating rotors to the front and two more sets at the rear, which can be shielded behind curved protectors for safety. Each rotor is driven by its own electric motor as a failsafe against unit failure.

For the public demonstration, the aircraft flew over Toyota's 2.5-acre (1-hectare) test field in the Aichi prefecture for about four minutes on August 25. A human pilot was at the controls but a computer system took care of flight stability and safety. No other details are available at this stage.

The company now intends to widen the scope of testing to prove the technology in various conditions, with a view to seeking approval for flights beyond the test field by the end of this year.

You can see the piloted SD-03 flying in the video below.

SkyDrive Project SD-03 world debut

Source: SkyDrive

View gallery - 5 images
8 comments
paul314
How about rotor protection on the body as well? I hope those panels are made of something really impact-resistant.
guzmanchinky
So coool! If Americans are known for wearing huge grins while driving through mud, then that pilot at 1:43 is the Japanese equivalent.
vince
Why not put the rotors a few inches from the ground. At least then if one of them self destructs you'll only loose a foot. Better than losing your head!
MemoriaTechnica
How long before the Dubai PD will has one?
Peter Reali
Better not have to bail out, its like flying a food processor :)
nick101
I'd LOVE to have a flying car, it is the 21st century after all, but I don't see these as doing the trick somehow.
bkwanab
Looks kewl but won't glide very far. I suspect it's glide distance and current altitude are the same. Straight down.
Daishi
My first thought is that the 2 rotors right next to each other probably have diminishing returns compared to one more powerful rotor but for safety/stability if one of them dies it might be useful to still have a working rotor trying to hold up that corner. You could program the software to do stuff like increase the speed of the one rotor if other has failed. There are all these companies investing all this money in electric VTOL's and I don't really understand their end game. Are they planning to work out the tech to achieve flight and then just moth ball the technology until someone comes up with a 5x breakthrough in battery technology? It seems like kind of a long shot investment unless they plan to sell them to billionaires who aren't planning to fly outside of their own yards.