Itochu Announces Investment in SkyDrive

August 28, 2020

ITOCHU Corporation (headquartered in Minato-ku, Tokyo; Yoshihisa Suzuki, President & COO; hereinafter "ITOCHU") announces today that it has agreed to invest in SkyDrive Inc. (headquartered in Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo; Tomohiro Fukuzawa, President; hereinafter "SkyDrive"), a company that is developing flying cars*1 and cargo drones.*2

Public-Private Council for Future Air Mobility Revolution has been holding meetings since 2018 in Japan through an initiative of the Japanese government and people hope that flying cars can develop into a new means of transportation for remote islands and mountanous areas, the emergency transportation of patients in a disaster, taxi services in urban areas and other possibilities in the future. The Roadmap towards the Air Mobility Revolution envisions commencement of business services with flying cars in 2023 and its full availability in the 2030s.

SkyDrive was established in July 2018. Its engineers have taken the initiative to develop flying cars centering aircraft, drone and automobile, and cargo drones with a view toward the practical application of flying cars and contributions to the future of mobility in society. In 2019, it conducted the first successful manned flight of a flying car in Japan. and is scheduled to launch its commercial service in 2023. In December 2019, it began accepting pre-launch orders for cargo drones.

ITOCHU hopes that flying cars, a next-generation mobility solution, will permeate society gradually in accordance with the Roadmap towards the Air Mobility Revolution and that the day will come when people use air mobility as a handy means of transportation, so called popularization of sky. Through the investment it recently reached an agreement on and through future collaboration, it will not only increase convenience in remote islands and rural areas and establish taxi services in urban areas but also construct an efficient mobility network able to respond to diversifying needs and a compound network based on integration with existing means of mobility. It will thus aspire to help create the next-generation of mobility for society and to offer services that match new lifestyles and values. This cannot be achieved by a single company alone. ITOCHU will work with SkyDrive and other companies possessing leading technologies and knowledge which decided to invest on this occasion with a view towards realizing the popularization of sky.

  • *1They are technically called electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft Their major features include an electric drive, fully independent automatic operation and the ability to land and take off vertically.
  • *2Drones for industrial use with the ability to convey heavy items They are capable of carrying items that weigh 30 kg or more.

(Reference) A test flight of a flying car (Photo courtesy of SkyDrive / CARTIVATOR)