An air taxi service set to feature at the 2025 World Exposition in Osaka was tested in Osaka Castle Park on Tuesday, in what the prefectural government says is the first time in the country one of the craft has been piloted from the cockpit.
Japan plans for the "flying cars" to be among the expo's main attractions, with the vehicles expected to provide access to the event venue planned to be set up on an artificial island in Osaka Bay.
The test centered on services to be provided by trading firm Marubeni Corp, one of the five companies selected to operate the flying taxis. It used a U.S.-made, single-seater craft different to the vehicles expected to be deployed for the 184-day event in 2025.
In the test, the craft ascended straight up into the air, lifted by its multiple propellers about 10 seconds after activation. While hovering about 8 meters above ground, it moved backward, forward, left and right and span multiple times before landing.
The craft was flown by Masatoshi Kumagai, a licensed pilot and the founder and CEO of GMO Internet Group Inc which provides cybersecurity services for operation of flying cars and aerial drones.
Kumagai, who underwent training in the United States for the flight, said afterwards that it had felt "like using a games console."
"I think the issue now isn't the technology, but that the big challenges ahead are Japanese regulations and residents' feelings" about safety.
Flying cars planned for the exposition will carry two to five people each, and are intended to connect three parts of the venue on Yumeshima, an artificial island in Osaka.
Marubeni plans to operate five-seater aircraft created by British firm Vertical Aerospace Group Ltd for the event, after it reserved delivery slots for 25 of the vehicles from the company in January.
Other firms with contracts to provide the services include All Nippon Airways Co parent company ANA Holdings Inc, which will partner with U.S. startup Joby Aviation Inc. to operate its five-seat vertical takeoff and landing aircraft.
Japan Airlines Co plans to lay on two-rider aircraft developed by German company Volocopter GmbH, and central Japan-based SkyDrive Inc also intends to provide two-seater aircraft services with a vehicle of its own development.
The test was organized with support from the Osaka prefectural government to improve awareness of the flying cars ahead of the world exposition.
Prefectural authorities plan to quickly resolve issues around commercial viability by also subsidizing construction of ports for the craft, as well as further test flights.
With flights over residential areas expected to take place, the prefectural government is working to reduce noise pollution and convince locals of the crafts' safety.
While the test marked the country's first piloted flight for a flying taxi, successful outdoor tests of manned craft being controlled from the ground have previously taken place in southwestern Japan's Oita Prefecture and elsewhere, the Osaka prefectural government said.
The World Expo 2025 will run from April 13 to Oct 13 under the theme of "Designing Future Society for Our Lives."© KYODO
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Taxi? All I see only one seat for pilot in that vehicle.
Yes, it is much less than I expected. Looks like an updated one-man gyrocopter that's been around for decades. There was one in Mad Max.
How much is the ride?
How is their public liability insurance?
Your tax dollars at work: another toy for the wealthy. I hope at least that it is electric.
Beautiful Osaka Castle, what a contrast .
I stick to my changara,(Tokyo jargon for old beat up taxi).
Where do we take off and land these craft?
The space just isn’t there, is it?
Until dedicated areas are built then these craft are just highly priced toys.
Do we on planet Earth not already have too many taxis and vehicles of all kinds on land ? And in the air? An air-taxi colliding with another will endanger or take away not only the lives of the passengers of both air-taxis but, also endanger or take away the life or lives of unfortunate pedestrians on the ground.
Besides, planet has Earth not already become a collosal Bee-Hive with more than hundreds of thousands of Bee-Planes flying around and landing in it like collosal mechanical Bees? 24 hours a day? 7 days a week? 12 months a year? Does Japan not know that Expo-25 will bring in hundreds of thousands of tourists flying into Japan in hundreds of thousands of planes that will pollute the skies of Japan? Does Japan want the air nearer the ground polluted as well by flying taxis? Evidently that is precisely why Japan is planning for the whole world to applaud Japan for being such a great Expo host-country and forgetting to train more doctors and nurses to work in many more newly built hospitals.*
With zero glide path and zero autorotation, I can't see these ever being used anywhere with buildings and people.
Well, in an aging childless society with one half of the population in senior residences and the other half caring those elderly people I see only one application for those flying taxis, when a very rare super rich nurse has overslept in the morning and has to rush to the workplace. Wish you much business success with those toys.
send ‘em to ukraine, already!
Absolute no need for this thing! If more minds who create these annoyances were more focused on the environment and other issues to improve society especially Japan with birth rate problems and really horrible work life balance and not playing with usless toys that will be more of a problem than a solution. Life might improve.
All those items developed in UK or Germany, I prefer some Japanese one.
Perfect for japan with its vast open spaces
It is funny for solo flight but there is something called helicopter which is safer, more comfortable to ferry passengers around.
I look forward to the day when the skies over Japan are full of these flying vehicles - preferably all self-flying - and very little traffic on the ground. People in Osaka, for example, will commute to Tokyo daily with ease.
More noise, more pollution, more destruction of our precious planet.
this is not a taxi, but a ridiculous prototype. Chinese taxi are better!
Japan is not working on "flying cars" so anyone hoping to see one, let alone drive or fly in one, is going to be greatly disappointed. They are working on small "air taxis" that use variations on helicopter technology that is miniaturized by using many smaller blades rather than one huge blade.
A car is a registered vehicle to use roadways, highways, freeways etc and carry occupants.
A "flying car" will be registered to use roadways, highways, freeways etc while carrying occupants, AND registered to fly up to a certain altitude while carrying passengers in Japanese airspace.
So a "flying car" would pick you up from your front door, drive to the nearest take off/landing point and then fly you to the landing point closest to your final destination, where upon it drives you to that destination and drops you at the door. That is a flying car! Anything that will not use roads but simply fly around has no business having car in the description.
There are flying boats or "float planes" that fly, land on water and float while being maneuverable on water.
The world expo in 2025 in Japan will NOT include any "flying cars" unless they begin building one between now and 2025.
Already have these in the US, and the infrastructure to go with it,
More air traffic... accidents of falling debris when they bump with each other. Very risky mode of transportation.
Elvis is here
That's an exaggeration. Maybe around Disney World there is a suitable "infrastructure" but overall ( as you imply) there is no such thing.
The main infrastructure system in the US was built decades ago and they have had painful experiences trying to graft modernised one's on to it.
The most painful thing is overall maintenance costs are holding back the potential economic progress that would outpace y that of China.
Hard to ignore those basic facts.
Aside from the safety concerns(what could go wrong...) The cost per ride would no doubt be similar to a ground based taxi in japan which seems like about 10000yen /100m when you are watching that meter tick over at light speed...
When wind, heavy rain, or whatever bad weather conditions, will it fly.
That point only makes it very risky for many reasons.
And that was not a flyng taxi car test since no transportation of a passenger, nor move from ppint A to point B.
What could go wrong?
The future is here.
Say what you want, but if the fare is affordable, i am definitely gonna at least try it out once in my life.
Japanese streets are so narrow,and do have curbs as barriers, people house are literally in the streets
If you’re not rich enough to take a private helicopter and land on your own yacht, I’d rather take my chances in a crash on the back of a Grab motor bike taxi in Malaysia any day - seems way safer!
When auto were made you only had horse tracks to drive on. The car will became horse. I know women will be later to take them up. There will be problems to solve. Will women have the confidence to fly a machine. Women are the best road user by far. But getting them to fly with confidence will be hard I assume. Women are defensive drivers of cars so being very cautious. You women out there how do you feel about having and using one of these? I say this because when it come to flying drones women are a very small percent of users. So I curiosity. Take the stay at home mum will she hop into a flycar to go down to shops or use the old EV.
Awa no Gaijin
Full of them ?
This has to be the worst wishful thinking of any person alive !
However if the sky was really full of them as you wish i seriously doubt you would be happy about it !
Taxi?? All I see is a man who in a drone look big mini helicopter with all those fans
worried about if one malfunctions or gets hacked and crashes
Notice how all these flying taxis are foreign models.
Good luck with all the overhead powerlines from a system designed in early 20th century.
this flying toy same concept of a drone you buy at toys r us but bigger in size and looks like a miniature helicopter
Government regulation will make sure they don't fly.No flying after 8pm
commercial flights are a joke here.
And 14 years before Mad Max 2, there was "Little Nellie" in You only live twice.
Her real name was the "Wallis WA-116 Agile":
Nope, nothing new to see here. Just a "droned up"-version of something actually pretty old.
GO JAPAN !!..
Soon will be when it meets Japan's power grid spaghetti. A rare photo indeed without the Tepco grid mess.