Malaysia’s flying vehicle prototype (or the ‘flying car’), which was originally slated to be revealed in October 2019, is expected to be launched at the end of the year instead.
This is according to the entrepreneur-development minister, in response to a question about the project in Parliament on 17 October 2019).
The project was led by the private sector and sponsored by local companies. It was noted that Cyberjaya has been chosen as the testbed to develop the air mobility industry, which had the potential to push the development in other areas like new types of insurance, financial tech, artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things (IoT), among others.
Responding to a separate query it was noted that the flying vehicle would be able to travel from Kuala Lumpur to Penang within an hour, which is far quicker than the four hours it would take to travel by road, adding that the prototype vehicle would be able to accommodate two or three passengers.
Earlier in March, a scale model of a flying vehicle prototype was put on display at the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace 2019 (LIMA 19) exhibition.
Called the Vector, it’s essentially less of a flying car and more of a drone-based, point-to-point air mobility solution.
Developed by an international drone-based managed solutions provider (and reportedly built in Japan), the Vector will reportedly be powered by four motors and a lithium-ion battery. Weighing in at 600kg, and with a payload capacity of up to 200kg, the vehicle is capable of flying about 50 metres above ground level at 60 km/h and has from 30 up to 90 minutes of flight time.
It was also noted that a second “flying car” is in the works, it would use different technologies from the first one, and could perform its inaugural flight in the third quarter of 2020.
The second version is using new technology and we are discussing whether or not it’s possible, and if there is interest in the country, to have the inaugural flight by the third quarter of next year. Moreover, the vehicle is currently being developed in Europe.
In August 2019 OpenGov Asia reported that works to construct Malaysia’s first flying car are 85 percent complete, the Entrepreneur Development Minister has told the press.
The prototype of the flying car was being built by a Malaysian company in Japan, as the economic powerhouse has the supporting ecosystem for the flying car industry.
The Minister visited Japan in September 2019 for the Aviation Conference. He hopes to get to see the almost complete (flying) car which will be brought back towards the end of the year.
The ministry is currently in discussions with various ministries involved in the aviation sector to create available space for flying cars in Malaysia, similar to efforts undertaken in several other countries, to complement the skills of the local entrepreneurs to develop a flying car.
While the flying car is a private initiative, the Government is working to create the flying car industry in Malaysia.
On whether the country’s first flying car would be launched by year-end, the Minister stated that it would depend on Malaysia’s ecosystem for flying cars, especially in terms of availability to fly at that time.
The development of the flying car is the new government’s initiative to promote the use of high technologies in the private sector to boost productivity. The car can be used in sectors such as agriculture and aerospace, among others.
Upon the launch of the Growth Malaysia initiative, the Minister noted that the prototype would cost slightly over RM1 million to build. Through the flying car project, the Government aims to create an environment that stimulates people to think about new technologies.
This is in line with the ministry’s mission to widen and coordinate entrepreneurial activities, to be more targeted. The platform’s founder said that the Growth Malaysia initiative aims to help 100,000 restaurants across Malaysia to grow digitally by 2020.