SkyDrive has been chosen by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) for the 'Next-generation Air Mobility Field' of the Small and Medium Enterprise Innovation Promotion Project (SBIR Phase 3), and has been granted approximately $83 million, which will support the development of innovative technologies aimed at enhancing future social implementation, including reducing traffic congestion and lower emissions.
The SBIR programme is a Japanese government initiative to grant startup companies working on advanced technologies that address societal challenges. The programme supports research and development projects that have high potential for growth and positive impact on society.
SkyDrive is developing a multicopter-type eVTOL aircraft with two passengers and a pilot at an affordable operating cost per person. The aircraft has a maximum take off weight of less than 1.5 tons and is designed to be safe, quiet and environmentally friendly. It features a patent-pending rotor frame technology that allows it to land on rooftops. SkyDrive is one of around 10 eVTOL companies that have begun the type certification process.
With the support of the Japanese government through the SBIR programme, SkyDrive plans to develop the aircraft with the specification required from operators and be mass-produced, and also to obtain type certification for commercial operation in the next five years.
The SBIR programme enables SkyDrive to accelerate its research and development efforts, focusing on improving the performance, safety and efficiency of its eVTOL aircraft. It will also support the development of new technologies and systems necessary for the successful deployment of eVTOLs in Japan and beyond.