SkyDrive looks to fly into air taxi territory with two-seat SD-05 eVTOL
With plans to introduce an air taxi service at the World Expo 2025 in Osaka, Japan, SkyDrive has announced that lessons learned from the development of its sporty SD-03 single-seat prototype have informed the design of a new two-seater SD-05 eVTOL.
Announced as the successor to the prototype SD-03 that made its public piloted flight demonstration in August 2020, the SD-05 electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft is being developed as a two-seater air taxi where one of the occupants is expected to be a pilot – as opposed to, say, China's autonomous eHang 216.
That pilot will get assistance from a computer-controlled flight system to ensure stability in the air, rising and moving off courtesy of a dozen motor/prop combinations branching out in threes from the angular "pearl-white swallow" wing above the cabin.
Indeed, the aero airframe is said to have been inspired by "studies of the streamlined shapes of birds and animals" and sports horizontal and vertical tails for extra flight stability.
SkyDrive is aiming for a cruising speed of 100 km/h (62 mph) and a per-charge operational range of up to 10 km (6.2 miles), so will likely be restricted to quick in-city hops or brief tourist flights – to zip between tourist attractions in the Osaka Bay area, for example, or transport holiday goers to and from resorts.
The main structure will be fashioned from aluminum alloy and composites. It will measure 9.4 x 9.4 x 2.7 m (30.8 x 30.8 x 8.5 ft), and have a maximum takeoff weight of 1,100 kg (2,400 lb).
The SD-05 renders depict a very different beast to those released after the announcement of a partnership with Suzuki earlier this year, and design specifications could change still further as development moves forward but the company is already looking for first-of-its-kind type certification from Japan's Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism. And SkyDrive also has an eye on providing last-mile transport options in the US at some point in the future, having this month set up an office there.
"This is another big step towards the realization of flying cars and sky roads," said design director, Takumi Yamamoto. "Two years have passed since the announcement of the SD-03, which successfully completed its public manned flight test in August 2020, and we are very happy to be able to announce its successor, the SD-05. We look forward to seeing everyone at the Osaka Expo in 2025"