The idea is to take an early lead in new mobility solutions, which may initially be targeted for consumers in Japan, and the US, and thereafter come – rather fly – into India, and that too very soon.These could be air taxis similar to the Uber and Ola cars running on the ground. The initiative will not just be limited to exploring India for sales. The company is even looking to manufacture in India for economic reasons, and has been conducting feasibility for the same, including talking to aviation regulator DGCA, Kento Ogura, assistant manager in Suzuki Motor (automobile product planning group), global automobile planning department, told TOI on the sidelines of Bharat Mobility Global Expo.
The SkyDrive – with 12 units of motors and rotors – will debut at the 2025 Osaka Expo in Japan and may first be pitched in Japan and the US for sales. Thereafter the plan is to look at ‘Make in India’, Ogura said. “We are doing market research to look for customers and partners in India.”
The Suzuki executive said that to be successful in India, the product cannot be expensive. “It has to be cheaper than a helicopter.”
At 1.4-tonnes, the take-off weight of the air copter is almost half of a conventional helicopter. This enables the use of building rooftops as take-off and landing locations.
Also, due to electrification, the number of aircraft parts has been reduced to one-tenth in comparison to a helicopter. “This results in significant reduction in aircraft manufacturing and maintenance costs,” the company says.