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SkyDrive's SD-03 model electrical vertical takeoff and landing vehicle. Photo: SkyDrive/CARTIVATOR via Reuters 

SkyDrive has successfully tested its flying car with a passenger on board, the Japanese company announced in a news release.

Why it matters: The modest test — four minutes in the air — brings humanity one step closer to one day combining the automobile and airplane, potentially doing away with the hassle of airports, commercial pilots and traffic jams, according to AP.

How it works: SkyDrive's SD-03 model vehicle, operating with eight motors and two propellers on each corner, lifted a single pilot about 10 feet into the air, according to the New York Times.

  • Because the vehicle takes off vertically, it does not require long runways like current commercial and private airplanes.

What they're saying: SkyDrive’s chief executive Tomohiro Fukuzawa told AP that “Of the world’s more than 100 flying car projects, only a handful have succeeded with a person on board."

  • Fukuzawa added that he hopes flying cars can be sold as a product by 2023, but it currently can only fly for around five to 10 minutes.
  • Fukuzawa said the machine will have more commercial potential if the company can increase flight time to 30 minutes.

The big picture: Several companies, including Boeing, Airbus, Toyota, Porsche and numerous small startups in Silicon Valley, are developing similar technology.

  • Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg told Axios in 2019 that he envisions the skies in U.S. cities filled with electric, autonomous flying vehicles in just a decade, ferrying people to their destination and averting congested roads.

Go deeper: Miami may be the perfect city to test out flying cars

Go deeper

GM abandons Trump lawsuit against California over emissions standards

General Motors CEO Mary Barra speaks at GM headquarters June 12, 2018 in Detroit, MI. Photo: Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

General Motors will pull out of any legal efforts that seek to strip California of its right to set its own clean-air standards, GM CEO Mary Barra said in a letter Monday to environmental groups, per AP.

Driving the news: Barra said the company, which is developing a new battery chemistry that will reduce the costs of electric-vehicle, agrees with President-elect Joe Biden’s plan to expand the use of electric vehicles, AP reported.

Updated 52 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: CDC director says number of U.S. Omicron cases "likely to rise" — Two years of COVID-19 — Prior coronavirus infections may not protect well against Omicron.
  2. Vaccines: Data demonstrates most-vaccinated counties less vulnerable to worst of COVID — Omicron adds urgency to vaccinating world — Omicron fuels the case for COVID boosters.
  3. Politics: Nevada to impose insurance surcharge on unvaccinated state workers — New Jersey GOP lawmakers defy statehouse COVID policy — Oklahoma sues Biden administration over Pentagon vaccine mandate.
  4. World: Vaccine mandates lose steam in the U.S. while Europe doubles downWHO: Delta health measures help fight Omicron — COVID cases surge in South Africa in sign Omicron wave is coming.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.

Vulnerable Democrats: Less Trump talk

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Vulnerable House Democrats are convinced they need to talk less about the man who helped them get elected: President Trump.

Why it matters: Democrats are privately concerned nationalizing the 2022 mid-terms with emotionally-charged issues — from Critical Race Theory to Donald Trump's role in the Jan. 6 insurrection — will hamstring their ability to sell the local benefits of President Biden's Build Back Better agenda.

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