The Japanese government is seeking to reduce the country's traffic problem with flying cars and is enlisting the help of companies including on-demand transportation giant Uber Technologies Inc. and jet makers Boeing Co. (BA) and Airbus SE. (See also: Uber Jumps to $62 Billion Valuation.)
The government-led group plans to bring airborne vehicles to the Asian country within the next decade. The group currently includes 21 businesses and organizations, including a Toyota Motor Corp.-backed startup called Cartivator, ANA Holdings Inc., Japan Airlines Co. and Yamato Holdings Co., according to a statement from the country's trade ministry in Tokyo.
"The Japanese government will provide appropriate support to help realize the concept of flying cars, such as creation of acceptable rules," stated the ministry.
Japan Seeks to Set Tone
Japan has lagged behind other countries in the development of self-driving cars and electric vehicles (EV), yet is showing its urgency in the development of aircraft technology. The government has moved quickly to facilitate legislation and infrastructure to gain a head start and to set a tone for the industry ahead of others countries, noted Fortune. The flying car technology would need to gain approval from several regulators, just as the aviation industry sets safety standards.
Japanese Economy Minister Hiroshige Seko told reporters earlier in August that the new aviation technology could be used in a variety of cases, such as evacuating remote islands or mountainous areas during disasters, or to improve its tourism industry.
Uber has already doubled down on flying cars with plans to spend $23 million over five years on a new facility in Paris dedicated to launching commercial operations of its air-taxi business by 2023. Global car makers including Volkswagen AG, Daimler AG and China's Geely Automobile Holdings Ltd. have also invested in the new technology.
The group will reportedly gather on Aug. 29 in efforts to chart a road map for this year. (See also: Apple Should Buy Tesla: Ross Gerber.)