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Riding high: Toyota eyes 'flying car' future

2017-05-15 11:25

Image: Image: Cartivator

Tokyo - Toyota has its sights set on a Blade Runner future as the Japanese automaker backs a move to launch a flying car in time for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

The company is giving about 42.5 million yen ($375 000) to the Cartivator project, which is developing the three-wheeled sci-fi car that relies on drone technology to take flight.

The manned vehicle, dubbed SkyDrive, will have four sets of propellors and - at 2.9 metres long and 1.3 metres wide - is aiming to be the world's smallest flying car, according to the project. 

A promotional video graphic shows the little car lowering its retractable wings before zipping off for a flight around Tokyo and then lighting the flame at the Olympic stadium.

The car is expected to have a top flight speed of around 100km an hour, hovering some 10 metres off the ground. It will have a top land speed around 150km/h.

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Image: Cartivator

A group of young engineers from the auto and aerospace industries are working on the project, which is being funded by a number of investors including Toyota subsidiaries.

The group is hoping to launch a manned prototype by the end of next year so it can be used to light the Olympic flame when Japan's capital hosts the Games.

Other firms, including ride-sharing service Uber and a Silicon Valley startup reportedly backed by Google co-founder Larry Page, are moving to put in place a system of flying cars to move people around cities.

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