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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 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus deaths reach 4,000 per day as hospitals remain in crisis mode — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Biden says, "We will manage the hell out of" vaccine distribution — Biden taps ex-FDA chief to lead Operation Warp Speed amid rollout of COVID plan — Widow of GOP congressman-elect who died of COVID-19 will run to fill his seat.
  3. Vaccine: Battling Black mistrust of the vaccines"Pharmacy deserts" could become vaccine deserts — Instacart to give $25 to shoppers who get vaccine.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode againFed chair: No interest rate hike coming any time soon —  Inflation rose more than expected in December.
  5. World: WHO team arrives in China to investigate pandemic origins.

NRA declares bankruptcy, says it will reincorporate in Texas

Wayne LaPierre of the National Rifle Association (NRA) speaks during CPAC in 2016. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The National Rifle Association said Friday it has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and will seek to reincorporate in Texas, calling New York, where it is currently registered, a "toxic political environment."

The big picture: The move comes just months after New York Attorney General Letitia James filed a lawsuit to dissolve the NRA, alleging the group committed fraud by diverting roughly $64 million in charitable donations over three years to support reckless spending by its executives.

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