Japan is making a push to develop flying cars, enlisting companies including Uber Technologies and Airbus in a government-led group to bring airborne vehicles to the country in the next decade, according to people familiar with the matter.
The group will initially comprise about 20 companies, including Boeing, NEC, a Toyota-backed startup called Cartivator, ANA Holdings, Japan Airlines, and Yamato Holdings.
Delegates will gather Aug. 29 for the first of their monthly meetings, the people said, asking not to be identified citing rules. The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry and the Transport Ministry plan to draft a road map this year, they said.
An Uber spokeswoman confirmed the company’s participation in the group,but declined to comment further. Representatives for Airbus, Boeing, ANA, JAL, NEC, Yamato and Cartivator declined to comment, as did those for the trade and transport ministries.
Flying cars that can zoom over congested roads are closer to reality than many people think. Startups around the world are pursuing small aircraft, which were until recently only in the realm of science fiction. With Japanese companies already trailing their global peers in electric vehicles and self-driving cars, the government is showing urgency on the aircraft technology, stepping in to facilitate legislation and infrastructure to help gain leadership.