Advanced Air Mobility News

SkyDrive Receives SD-05 Pre-order from Taiho

SkyDrive Receives SD-05 Pre-order from Taiho

SkyDrive, the Japanese eVTOL manufacturer, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with engineering company Taiho and agreed on the pre-order of SD-05 aircraft for commercial purposes. 

As a member of the Public-Private Council for Advanced Air Mobility in Kagawa prefecture, Taiho plans to use the SD-05 eVTOL aircraft to help solve the transportation and revitalization challenges that Japan’s Shikoku region is facing.

It remains unclear how many eVTOLs Taiho pre-ordered, with a SkyDrive spokesperson telling Asian Sky Group that “the numbers depend on the progress of the development”.

Shikoku is one of the four main islands in the southwestern part of the country. The region, with most of the area covered by mountains, has fewer transportation options when it comes to urban travel as only certain areas are currently accessible by bus or car. Furthermore, the Shikoku region is prone to natural disasters, including earthquakes and typhoons, which tend to disrupt the limited network of transportation already in service. 

Both parties also expressed an interest in establishing an advanced air mobility (AAM) ecosystem in Shikoku, especially given Taiho’s position as a leading infrastructure provider in the region. To achieve this, SkyDrive and Taiho will work with a myriad of other stakeholders, including flight operators, vertiport developers, and power supply companies. 

“The best area in Japan for operating flying cars is actually near the Setouchi area, where there has warm, relatively light winds, and good weather all year round,” SkyDrive CEO Tomohiro Fukuzawa said. “In Kagawa prefecture, it can be used for sightseeing to the isolated islands, and for transport between the main island. It will reduce the time for traveling.

“Together with Taiho, we will consider various ways of use cases in Setouchi and Shikoku Area and provide the enjoyment of advanced air mobility.”

Kazuyuki Inui, the President and CEO of Taiho, said the MoU will “enrich the development of local communities and the lives of people around the area”.

There is no specified timeframe for the implementation of AAM infrastructure in the Shikoku region, but the project will be jointly done with the Public-Private Council for Advanced Air Mobility. 

“There is no specific target year yet. We would like to set it up with the Public-Private Council for Advanced Air Mobility in Kagawa prefecture in Shikoku region. We consider it would be great to conduct our flight as soon as the Osaka Expo finishes,” the SkyDrive spokesperson informed Asian Sky Group.

Just last week, SkyDrive announced it would be accepting pre-orders for the SD-05 for personal use. It also secured further funding in its Series C round, which brought its cumulative total to over 15 billion yen (about USD$112.7 million) as of April 6.

SkyDrive’s SD-05 is a two-seater eVTOL that can travel 10 km at a maximum cruise speed of 100 kph. Type certification for the aircraft is currently underway with the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT).

The Tokyo-based firm aims to launch the SD-05 in 2025 and provide air taxi services in the Osaka Bay area in time for the Osaka Expo to be held the same year.

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