The idea of flying cars has likely been around since first vehicles began putting the world on wheels.
However, despite leaps and bounds in technology, the flying car is still largely a pipe dream—save for a few daring companies aiming to redefine air transportation—but Toyota has now thrown its hat into the winged-car ring.
A report from Nikkei claims Toyota has officially provided funds for a group of its top engineers that moonlight on a flying car project. The 30 Toyota employees call themselves Cartivator and have been pursuing flying vehicle technology since about 2012.
Cartivator has long relied on crowd-source funding for its dreams, but Toyota itself was reportedly swayed by the business pitch.
“Things will not progress if you wait and provide money only when the technology is ready,” Chairman Takeshi Uchiyamada said of the project.
The project's working title, SkyDrive, reportedly tests as a 1/5 scale model at the Cartivator headquarters, but a full-scale prototype will be revealed as early as July, according to those involved. The prototype will seat one person and house rotors at each corner for flying duties. When tasked to perform as a car, it features a three-wheel design.
The team targets a top speed of 62 mph in the air. Judging from some patent drawings, the design looks a lot like flying jelly bean, hardly the prettiest thing to look at. Though, the final product shown in a concept drawing looks properly futuristic.
The team has lofty goals for SkyDrive. With Toyota's money, the company plans to put a full-scale vehicle in the air by the end of this year with a pilot onboard. Following that, Cartivator hopes to remotely pilot a SkyDrive in 2018. All of this is ultimately in preparation for the 2020 Olympic games which will be hosted in Tokyo, Japan. Cartivator hopes to light the iconic Olympic torch with the SkyDrive.