Imagine this: You’re running late to a meeting downtown and I-385 is bumper to bumper, so you board a taxi in the sky that gets you there in a fraction of the time. Feels like the future, doesn’t it?
That future isn’t too far off.
Meet SkyDrive Inc. — a Japanese eVTOL company — entering the US market in SC in partnership with Greenville’s Downtown Airport.
What the heck is eVTOL?
eVTOL stands for electric vertical take-off and landing. It’s an aircraft that does, well, just that. It uses electric power to take off and land vertically.
SkyDrive’s model — the SD-05 — is a zero-emissions, two-seat aircraft designed for use in daily life.
What happens now?
SkyDrive will build a business infrastructure in SC and work with the Greenville Downtown Airport and the Columbia Metropolitan Airport (hey, COLAtoday 👋) to establish FAA-approved operations for the SD-05 to hit SC skies safely and efficiently.
Why our state?
SkyDrive’s founder and CEO Tomohiro Fukuzawa says choosing the Palmetto State was easy because SC “has a proven ability to excel in advanced aerospace manufacturing.”
Other factors considered:
- Home to 400+ aerospace and aviation companies (think: Boeing and Lockheed Martin)
- Robust supply chain
- Mild climate
- Abundant tourism
- Airports close to city centers
When will it take flight?
SkyDrive aims to begin its air taxi service in 2025 in Osaka, Japan with hopes to make driving in the sky accessible to everyone by 2050.
Greenville Downtown Airport Director James Stephens tells us a lot has to happen before this concept becomes reality, including:
- FAA regulations and approval
- Funding and construction of landing infrastructure
- Consumer acceptance of a new transportation method
He says when this technology is ready for every day use, the airport wants to be knowledgeable and prepared to offer this option to Greenville travelers.