Japan is driving the development of flying cars, with leading technology companies such as Uber Technologies Inc. and Airbus. These companies will enlist in a government-led group to bring airborne vehicles to Japan by next decade, according to people known with the information.
The group is initially formed by about 20 companies, including Boeing Co., NEC Corp., a startup known, Cartivator, Japan Airlines Co., ANA Holdings Inc., and Yamato Holdings Co. The Ministry of Transport and Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry plan to develop a roadmap this year.
Uber spokesman affirmed about the company’s role in the group, but refuse to give statement further. Representatives of Airbus, ANA, Boeing, Yamato, JAL, NEC, and Cartivator declined to comment, as did the ministries of trade and transport.
Flying cars that hover over packed roads are very much closer to get into reality than many people think. Startups across the world are looking for small planes that until recently were only in the field of science fiction.
With Japanese companies already lagging behind their global competitors in the field of electric and autonomous vehicles, the government is demonstrating on an urgent basis to develop futuristic aviation technology, working on to facilitate infrastructure and legislation to gain leadership.
Many have already taken a step forward in the race. Uber, that will be investing $20 million in the coming 5 years to develop car services at a new facility in Paris, has set a goal to launch commercial operations of its air cargo business by 2023.
Other international companies considering this new mode of transport are Daimler AG, Volkswagen AG, and Chinese automaker Geely Automobile Holdings Ltd. Japanese automakers are yet to declare about the plans to develop flying cars.
Japan wants to take a lead in writing the rules for this budding industry, as policymakers think the current aviation regulations are mostly set by Europe and the U.S.