'Flying Car' Test Successful for Japanese Company
People have long dreamt of a car that flies through the sky.
Japan's SkyDrive has carried out a successful, but modest test flight of such a vehicle carrying a person. It is just one of the many "flying car" projects around the world.
In a video shown to reporters last week, a vehicle that looked like a motorcycle with propellers lifted up to two meters off the ground. It flew in circles in a protected area for four minutes.
Tomohiro Fukuzawa heads the SkyDrive effort. He said he hopes the flying car can be made into a real-life product by 2023. However, he noted the importance of safety.
"Of the world's more than 100 flying car projects, only a handful has succeeded with a person on board," he told The Associated Press.
"I hope many people will want to ride it and feel safe."
The machine so far can fly for just five to 10 minutes, but if the flight time can be extended to 30 minutes, the car will have more possibilities. For example, it could be exported to places like China, Fukuzawa said.
Unlike airplanes and helicopters, "electric vertical takeoff and landing" vehicles, or eVTOL, generally offer quick point-to-point personal travel. They could do away with having to deal with airports, traffic jams and the cost of paying for pilots. Such vehicles could even fly without a pilot.
Battery sizes, air traffic control and other issues are among the main problems to overcome before selling them to the public.
"Many things have to happen," said Sanjiv Singh, professor at the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University. He helped start Near Earth Autonomy, near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The company also develops eVTOL systems.
"If they cost $10 million, no one is going to buy them. If they fly for 5 minutes, no one is going to buy them. If they fall out of the sky...no one is going to buy them," Singh said.
SkyDrive's flying car began as a volunteer project in 2012. The project received financial support from top Japanese companies including carmaker Toyota, electronics company Panasonic and video-game developer Bandai Namco.
A demonstration flight three years ago did not go well. But the flying car has improved, and the project recently received additional support of $37 million, including money from the Development Bank of Japan.
The Japanese government has expressed support for the futuristic project, with a "road map" for business services by 2023. The goal is to expand the flying car's commercial use by the 2030s. It also has noted possible uses for connecting faraway areas and providing transportation in disasters.
Experts compare the excitement about flying cars to the days when the aviation industry got started with the Wright Brothers and the auto industry with the Ford Model T.
Lilium of Germany, Joby Aviation in California and Wisk, a joint business involving Boeing and the company Kitty Hawk, are also working on eVTOL projects.
Sebastian Thrun is chief executive of Kitty Hawk. Thrun said it took time for airplanes, cell phones and self-driving cars to win acceptance.
"But the time between technology and social adoption might be more compressed for eVTOL vehicles," he said.
I'm Mario Ritter, Jr.
The money supply expanded by 14.6 percent in the year to September.
She refused to give the child for adoption.
There was a general acceptance that the defence budget would shrink.
The guests came from all social backgrounds.
5.Thrun said it took time for airplanes, cell phones and self-driving cars to win acceptance.
take time to 抽空做
They are bound to take time to readjust after a holiday.
These plans take time to come to fruition.
6.The machine so far can fly for just five to 10 minutes, but if the flight time can be extended to 30 minutes.
so far 目前
So far we haven't been able to find anything, but we're still researching.
I think he made a tactical blunder by announcing it so far ahead of time.
日本SkyDrive公司已经成功进行了一次载人飞车的适度飞行测试 。这只是全球众多“飞行汽车”项目之一 。
在上周向记者展示的视频中，一辆形似摩托车的带有螺旋桨的汽车升离地面两米高 。它绕着防护区飞行了4分钟 。
福泽智博（Tomohiro Fukuzawa）是Skydrive公司的项目负责人 。他表示，希望这种飞行汽车在2023年成为现实生活中的产品 。不过，他提到了安全的重要性 。
福泽表示，到目前为止，该汽车只能飞行5-10分钟，但是如果飞行时间可以延长至30分钟，这种汽车会有更多可能性 。例如它可出口到中国等地 。
与飞机以及直升机不同，这种电动垂直起、降的车辆（简称eVTOL）通常只提供快速点对点的个人出行 。无需机场等设施即可起飞，可避免交通堵塞，也无需重金雇佣飞行员 。这种车辆甚至无需飞行员驾驶 。
卡内基梅隆大学机器人研究所教授桑基夫·辛格表示：“还有很多问题亟待解决 。”他协助创办了宾夕法尼亚州匹兹堡市附近的Near Earth Autonomy公司 。该公司也在开发eVTOL系统 。
辛格表示：“如果售价1000万美元，没有人会购买 。如果它只能飞5分钟，没有人会购买 。如果从空中掉下来，也没人会购买 。
SkyDrive公司的飞行汽车始于2012年的一个志愿者项目 。该项目获得了日本顶级公司的财务支持，包括丰田汽车制造厂、松下电子公司以及万代南梦宫视频游戏开发商 。
3年前的一次演示飞行并不顺利 。但是这款飞行汽车有所改进，该项目最近获得了3700万美元的额外支持，其中包括日本开发银行提供的资金 。
日本政府对这一未来的项目表示支持，该项目提出了2023年前实现商用的路线图 。其目标是在21世纪30年代扩大这种飞行汽车的商业用途 。它还提出了连接偏远地区以及在灾难中提供交通运输的潜在用途 。
德国的Lilium公司，加州的Joby Aviation公司以及波音和小鹰公司联合的Wisk公司都在从事eVTOL项目 。
塞巴斯蒂安·特伦（Sebastian Thrun）是小鹰公司的首席执行官 。特伦表示，飞机、手机和自动驾驶汽车都经历了很长时间才赢得人们的认可 。