Japan’s SkyDrive planning to launch flying cars in USA

Japanese flying car startup SkyDrive plans to begin commercial service in 2026, lifting off in the U.S. state of South Carolina, the company said on Wednesday.

SkyDrive intends to operate flights between airports and city centers. The company, based in the central Japanese prefecture of Aichi, has formed a South Carolina office and begun talks with state authorities and two airports heading toward commercialization of the project.

The startup will begin operations with its SD-05 electric vertical takeoff and landing vehicle, which is also scheduled to be put into practical use at the 2025 World Expo in Osaka. The multipropeller vehicle can seat two people including the pilot.

South Carolina, where Boeing maintains an aircraft assembly facility, is a hub of the U.S. aviation industry. SkyDrive’s decision to debut operations there also stems from the presence of an affiliated company of Toray Carbon Magic, a subsidiary of Japanese chemicals group Toray Industries and one of SkyDrive’s major suppliers.

Many countries aim to commercialize flying cars and set up businesses in the U.S., which has the potential to become a large market.

SkyDrive has been expanding its overseas business and signed a memorandum of understanding with a Vietnamese infrastructure development company in 2022 for an order for up to 100 aircraft.