Japan Is Enlisting 21 Global Companies, Including Uber and Boeing, In A Push For The Flying Car
Japan is truly ahead of its time, as the Japanese government is now looking to push for flying cars within the next decade or so. This move is due to the fact that the government wants to reduce congestion on its roads, and with flying car technology now making a breakthrough, it’s high time that this initiative takes root.
The government-led initiative comprises of 21 businesses and organizations, including Airbus SE, NEC Corp., a Toyota Motor Corp.-backed startup called Cartivator, ANA Holdings Inc., Japan Airlines Co., and Yamato Holdings Co., in addition to Uber and Boeing.
Japan’s urgency in developing the flying car can be attributed to the fact that most Japanese companies are already trailing their global peers in electric vehicles and self-driving cars. Uber, which will invest 20 million euros ($23 million) over the next five years to develop flying car services in a new facility in Paris, has set a goal of starting commercial operations of its air-taxi business by 2023. Kitty Hawk, the Mountain View, California-based startup founded and backed by Google’s Larry Page, in June offered a glimpse of an aircraft prototype: a single-person recreational vehicle.
Other global companies that have had a hand in the flying car development include Volkswagen AG, Daimler AG and Chinese carmaker Geely Automobile Holdings Ltd. With so much competition, it’s not hard to see why the Japanese government is stepping in to facilitate legislation and infrastructure to help gain leadership.
“The Japanese government will provide appropriate support to help realize the concept of flying cars, such as creation of acceptable rules,” the Trade Ministry said.
Japan’s Economy Minister Hiroshige Seko told reporters this month that flying cars could ease urban traffic snarls, help transportation in remote islands or mountainous areas at times of disasters, and can be used in the tourism industry.
The technology, just like aviation, would need to win approvals from several regulators that can take many years. That would also happen only when safety standards are set by agencies, without which commuters won’t embrace the flying craft.
“It’s necessary for the government to take a lead and coordinate on setting safety standards,” said Yasuo Hashimoto, a researcher at Tokyo-based Japan Aviation Management Research. “They are trying to set a tone for the industry ahead of other countries.”
What do you think? Are you excited to see the rise of a the flying car? Leave a comment below!