Japan's first manned 'flying car' test flight held in Osaka City

People in western Japan got a potential glimpse of the future on Tuesday as a flying car took off in a public park in central Osaka City. The transport ministry says the test marks the first time that such a manned vehicle has flown in a public space in the country.

The organizers of the World Expo 2025 in Osaka are planning to introduce flying car shuttle services for the event.

The test flight was held by a team that includes major Japanese trading house Marubeni. The group is one of several operators that will provide the shuttles for the event.

The vehicle used in the test flies using drone technology and is electric powered. The US-made, single-occupancy craft measures 4.5 meters long, 2.4 meters high, and weighs 221 kilograms. It has 18 propellers.

The pilot flew the craft about 8 meters off the ground and performed maneuvers including horizontal and circular flights over a range of 50 meters before returning to the landing site.

Takechi Satoshi of Marubeni said he hopes that the test flight has helped people imagine how flying cars will be used during the expo. He added that the company plans to find a market for flying cars beyond the expo.