Osaka Reaches for the Skies

Akihabara News (Tokyo) — Osaka Prefecture has launched a new organization with the objective of establishing commercial flying car services by 2023.

Launched in an event held on the 17th, the new group goes by an unwieldy name that might be translated as Osaka Roundtable on a Moving Revolution Society in the Sky, and includes as its inaugural members the Osaka Prefectural Government and 41 private companies and organizations.

Featured as the keynote speaker, Osaka Governor Hirofumi Yoshimura declared, “I remember being excited to see a flying car in science fiction movies when I was a child. Let’s realize this project in Osaka united in our public and private sectors.”

The event afterwards went on to feature lectures by businessmen and academics on the current development and remaining challenges facing the emerging commercial air taxi industry. These included the need to secure appropriate takeoff and landing sites and the development of a proper legal and regulatory framework.

Osaka hopes to feature air taxi exhibitions for the 2025 World Expo, which is one of the reasons that this prefecture is taking the lead.

More broadly, the Japanese government has had its eye on the flying taxi market since at least August 2018 when the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) and Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) jointly launched the Public-Private Conference for Future Air Mobility.

The Osaka initiative is building upon that platform and aims to fill out some of the necessary details that will lead to implementation.

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