Japan's 'flying car' gets off the ground, with a rider aboard
Japan Today -- Aug 29
The decades-old dream of zipping around in the sky as simply as driving on highways may be becoming less illusory.

Japan’s SkyDrive Inc., among the myriads of “flying car” projects around the world, has carried out a successful though modest test flight with one person aboard.

In a video shown to reporters on Friday, a contraption that looked like a slick motorcycle with propellers lifted about two meters off the ground, and hovered in a netted area for four minutes.

Tomohiro Fukuzawa, who heads the SkyDrive effort, said he hopes “the flying car” can be made into a real-life product by 2023, but he acknowledged that making it safe was critical.

“Of the world’s more than 100 flying car projects, only a handful has succeeded with a person on board,” he told The Associated Press. “I hope many people will want to ride it and feel safe.”

The machine so far can fly for just five to 10 minutes but if that can become 30 minutes, it will have more potential, including exports to places like China, Fukuzawa said.

Unlike airplanes and helicopters, eVTOL, or “electric vertical takeoff and landing,” vehicles offer quick point-to-point personal travel, at least in principle.

They could do away with the hassle of airports and traffic jams and the cost of hiring pilots, they could fly automatically.

News source: Japan Today
Oct 22
Researchers in Japan say they have confirmed that face masks are effective in both retarding the spread of viruses and reducing the intake of them. (NHK)
Oct 22
The Japanese government will soon pledge to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions to net zero by 2050, Nikkei has learned. (Nikkei)
Oct 21
Under normal circumstances at this time of year, hundreds of companies would bring to life the Makuhari Messe venue in the city of Chiba with cutting-edge products from robots to cars and AI to internet-connected devices, for the annual event known as CEATEC (Combined Exhibition of Advanced Technologies). (Japan Times)
Oct 21
Wild deer at Nara Park in western Japan, a major tourist attraction, have often suffered from eating plastic bags discarded by visitors, but local companies have now succeeded in developing paper bags that the animals can digest. (Japan Today)
Oct 20
Central Japan Railway Company unveiled the interior of the latest version of its magnetic-levitation train on Monday. (NHK)
Oct 20
Some Japanese research institutions developing coronavirus vaccines have been hit by cyberattacks, apparently from China, in what are believed to be the first cases of their kind in the country, a U.S. information security firm said Monday. ()
Oct 19
The coronavirus remains active on human skin for nine hours, Japanese researchers have found, in a discovery they said showed the need for frequent hand washing to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. (Japan Times)
Oct 18
It's been nearly ten years since the Fukushima nuclear disaster and Japan is still struggling to manage its consequences. (aljazeera.com)
Oct 18
Japan's industry ministry says there are technical difficulties with three proposed options for disposing of treated radioactive wastewater stored at the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. (NHK)
Oct 17
A Japanese hospital said Thursday it has performed the world's first clinical trial of a transplant of visual cells derived from induced pluripotent stem cells, or iPS cells, to treat a patient with pigmentary retinal degeneration. (Japan Today)
Oct 16
The Japanese government plans to release into the sea treated radioactive water from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant crippled by a powerful earthquake and tsunami in 2011 amid concerns over the environmental impact, sources close to the matter said Thursday. (Kyodo)
Oct 16
A Japanese supercomputer showed that humidity can have a large effect on the dispersion of virus particles, pointing to heightened coronavirus contagion risks in dry, indoor conditions during the winter months. (Japan Today)
Oct 15
Japan, the United States and six other countries have signed an agreement laying out what they say are the guiding principles for space exploration. (NHK)
Oct 14
Covid-related ridership drops and long-term population trends are raising hard questions about the future of the Shinkansen network of high-speed trains in Japan. (Bloomberg)
Oct 14
Japan joined a U.S.-led international agreement Wednesday that outlines the exploration and utilization of resources in space, the government said. (Kyodok)
Oct 14
The Metropolitan Area Outer Underground Discharge Channel, located in Saitama prefecture of Japan, was built to protect Tokyo from flooding. Constructed in 2016, it measures 30 metres (98ft) in diameter and 70 metres (230ft) in depth. (South China Morning Post)
Oct 10
Japan will consider easing regulations on the sale of emergency contraceptive pills without a prescription, the health minister said Friday, taking a step toward allowing the kind of over-the-counter birth control that is already available in dozens of other countries. (Japan Times)
Oct 09
Three Japanese firms are teaming up to build fully electric tankers with no carbon footprint. (NHK)
Oct 03
Present-day life has had mixed results on delivering on the predictions past generations made about the future. We still don’t have flying cars, for example, but we do have a real-life giant, moving anime robot (and if we had to pick one of the two, personally, that’s the one we’d pick). (soranews24.com)
Oct 01
A survey by a medical research center in Japan shows the fatality rate of people infected with the coronavirus is higher among those with chronic kidney or heart diseases. (NHK)