Video from engineering company SkyDrive shows its manned compact vehicle using eight propellers to hover into the air and make its way — with a few wobbles — around a test field.
But while the clip may excite fans of Blade Runner and Back to the Future, the test run leaves mankind far from a future of airborne vehicles whizzing into the sky to avoid traffic.
The company hailed “the first public demonstration of a flying car in Japan” and said the aircraft, around the size of two parked cars, had circled the testing field for four minutes.
Flying cars by 2023?
“We want to realise a society where flying cars are an accessible and convenient means of transportation in the skies,” SkyDrive CEO Tomohiro Fukuzawa said in a statement on Friday.
The firm said it wanted the vehicle to be available to buy in Japan by 2023, with reports suggesting it could cost upwards of $300 000 (about R5 million).
Other airborne vehicle ventures
The car is not the first step humans have taken towards a brave new world of airborne vehicles.
A German company tested a flying taxi in Singapore in October, saying it hoped its invention — also shaped like a big drone — would revolutionise travel in traffic-choked cities.
Volocopter had already tested its battery-operated, two-seater taxi elsewhere around the globe but the Singapore trial was the first in the heart of a city.
Several other companies are working on similar projects, including Boeing, Airbus, Toyota and Hyundai.
— By © Agence France-Presse