Japan Will Use a Flying Car to Light the 2020 Olympic Flame
When the Summer Olympics heads to Tokyo, the opening ceremony will feature a flying car to light the 2020 Olympic Flame.
When it comes to the Olympics, each new host city loves to show off by highlighting something it feels is unique to it. Rio focused on its makeup as a multicultural melting pot, Beijing displayed its cohesiveness, and London had James Bond jump out of a helicopter with the Queen.
The next Summer Olympics will take place in Tokyo, and it appears that the Japanese capital is looking to emphasize its technology and robotics. To do so, it is hoping to use a flying car to light the 2020 Olympic Flame.
The car is being designed by a Tokyo-based nonprofit known as Cartivator. The team is made up entirely of volunteers – 30 in total – and it operates thank to donations from both average people and corporations. One of those corporations happens to be Toyota, who recently donated $40 million. Carivator is currently working on a three-wheeled flying car known as the Skydrive, which is powered by four rotors and relies on drone technology. Because of that, it needs to be small and lightweight – the entire car is just 9/5 feet by 4.3 feet, making it slightly longer, but a little shorter than a Smart Car.
Although still years out, the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics Opening Ceremonies are sounding like they may be one of the most intricate and complex openings to date. Along with the flying car, the Japanese Olympic committee is also considering commissioning an artificial meteor shower to help kick things off. And that’s just what we know about.
Although still very much a prototype, the Skydrive currently has a top speed of 93 mph on the ground and 62 mph in the air. It is designed to take off and land anywhere – including near the Olympic Flame. The exact plans for how it will light the Torch haven’t been announced yet, and probably haven’t been finalized. Once they are, it will probably be kept a secret until the actual show anyway – assuming the prototype is ready in time.
“By 2050 we aim to create a world where anyone can fly in the sky anytime and anywhere,” said Cartivator. “To realise our vision, a compact flying car is necessary with a vertical takeoff and landing technology, which do not need roads and runways to lift off.”
Cartivator is far from the first group to work on a flying car, and it isn’t the only one in the process of developing one now. It will, however, have a significant leg up over the competition if it appears as the highlight of a show watched around the world. The Rio Opening Ceremonies had an estimated three billion people watching, and there’s no reason to think the Tokyo games will have less than that.