Jul 3, 2018

Japan to start discussions on flying cars, eyes new entry

Japan to start discussions on flying cars, eyes new entry photo

TOKYO - Japan will launch a public-private council within the year to discuss the practical use of flying cars, with an eye toward bringing more companies outside the automobile industry into joining the effort, the top government spokesman said Monday.

Given the slow development of such vehicles among domestic automakers, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said at a press conference that the government aims to "urge new players to join" the field.

Flying cars, which include those taking off and landing vertically or operating without drivers, are expected to help ease traffic jams in urban areas.

While start-ups and engineer groups are involved in developing technologies for eventual production of such vehicles, little progress has been made for legislation on securing their safety.

Suga said the government hopes flying cars will also play a role in mountainous areas and remote islands as well as in the event of natural disasters.

The council, involving the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry as well as the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism from the public side, will likely draw up a road map, he added.

In Japan, Cartivator, a group of volunteers working in the auto and aviation industries, aims to demonstrate flying vehicles during the opening ceremonies of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics.

Outside Japan, French-based airplane manufacturer Airbus tested a one-person flying vehicle in January, while U.S. ride-hailing service provider Uber Technologies Inc. has unveiled a plan to put such cars into practical use by 2023.




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