Uber, Boeing and Airbus join Japan VTOL coalition

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Japan’s trade ministry has brought together 21 companies connected to VTOLs to discuss how to regulate and introduce air-taxi services into the country.

The ministry will bring together companies including Uber, Boeing, Airbus, Japan Airlines, ANA Holdings, Yamato Holdings and Cartivator on 29 August to discuss plans for Japan Air Taxi services – Bloomberg reports.

The ministry said in a statement: "The Japanese government will provide appropriate support to help realize the concept of flying cars, such as creation of acceptable rules."

Japan is seeking ¥4.5 billion ($40.4 million) funding to support private-sector development of batteries, motors and other technologies for flying cars – according to the Japan Times.

The Ministry hopes to make flying cars a reality over the streets of Tokyo and Osaka within the next decade.

This announcement was teased earlier in July by Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshida Suga. The full list of companies is unknown but is comprised of a mix of start-ups as well as large tech and transport firms.

Japan’s biggest private-sector air-taxi project right now is the Toyota-backed Cartivator. The company hopes to have a fully-operational aircraft ready for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo where it will be carrying the Olympic torch for part of run to the stadium.

Here you can see an early prototype of the Cartivator taking flight.

Toyota investment

Shortly after this announcement, Toyota announced that it will be investing $500 million in Uber and partner with it  to research and develop autonomous ride-sharing technologies.

The partnership will first see Uber implement purpose-built autonomous cars into its ride-sharing network.

Shigeki Tomoyama, executive vice president, TMC, and president, Toyota Connected Company said: "Combining efforts with Uber, one of the predominant global ride-sharing and automated driving R&D companies, could further advance future mobility.

"This agreement and investment marks an important milestone in our transformation to a mobility company as we help provide a path for safe and secure expansion of mobility services like ride-sharing that includes Toyota vehicles and technologies."