The collaboration, ongoing since March 2022, is part of SkyDrive’s efforts to refine and upgrade the design of its electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft, leveraging Suzuki’s extensive knowledge in automobile mass production.
“We will make ambitious strides toward the development of products of superior value so that we can contribute to the realization of air mobility, which utilizes the sky for daily transportation,” said the President of Suzuki in a statement.
SkyDrive, headquartered in Toyota, Japan, successfully completed a crewed eVTOL test flight in 2019. Since then, the company has been in talks with air traffic regulators, including the Japan Civil Aviation Bureau (JCAB) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for potential US operations.
Its latest model with a patented rotor design, named SKYDRIVE, was unveiled at the 2023 Paris Air Show. The new eVTOL is able to accommodate three people, carry an additional 700 pounds (3,100 in total), and its flight range is 5-10 kilometers longer compared to the two previous designs.
It was revealed that the Suzuki Group factory in central Japan will be transformed into a fully subsidiary-owned production facility for SKYDRIVE manufacturing. Suzuki also plans to help with securing human resources and sharing manufacturing expertise, based on its concept of “Smaller, Fewer, Lighter, Shorter, and Neater”.
While SkyDrive has been selected as an individual company to participate in the Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) project at the Expo 2025 Osaka in Japan, both companies also aim to obtain airworthiness certification for the eVTOL SKYDRIVE to attend the same expo.