Toyota patents flying-car concept

A year after acquiring VTOL manufacturer Cartivator, Toyota has patented its first flying-car concept.

The patent covers a combined rotor/wheel system. The “dual mode vehicle” features four wheels with in-built rotor-blades that can be deployed once the vehicle switches to flight mode.

The diagrams show two arms attached to the roof of the car with the four wheels attached. When the car is ready to fly, the arms extended upwards – above the aircraft – and the rotor blades are then deployed.

Each rotor/wheel will be powered by an individual electric motor. The motors will receive power from an unspecified source – most likely either a central battery or turbine engine.

Toyota expressed interest in the VTOL space when it acquired Cartivator in 2017. Cartivator was a pet-project of 30 engineers designing a combined car/VTOL concept (pictured above). Toyota fully acquired the company in July last year and rebranded the project SkyDrive – the name under which the patent was filed.

2018 has been the year that legacy car companies have decided to get in on the VTOL trend. This year has seen Aston Martin, Rolls-Royce and now Toyota announce VTOL/Flying-car concepts. Porsche is also eyeing the market closely and has hinted that it might be revealing a flying-car/VTOL of its own in the near future.

The Toyota concept is most reminiscent of Audi’s and Airbus’s joint VTOL project - the Pop.Up.Next. Their two-seater, fully-electric car features a separate drone-like aircraft that attaches to the roof of the car to transition the vehicle to flight mode.