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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.

4 hours ago - World

Over 170 Palestinians injured in clashes with Israeli police in Jerusalem

An injured man is carried away as Israeli security forces clash with Palestinian protesters at the al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem. Photo: Ahmad Gharabli/AFP via Getty Images

At least 178 Palestinians have been injured in clashes with Israeli police in Jerusalem, Reuters reported late Friday.

The big picture: The clashes come amid growing anger over the threatened eviction of Palestinians from their homes on land claimed by Jewish settlers in East Jerusalem. Tensions have also escalated in the occupied West Bank in recent weeks.

Updated 6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus cases hit a seven-month low — Majority back vaccine proof requirements for travel, schools and work — The race to avoid a possible "monster" COVID variant.
  2. Politics: Oklahoma secures $2.6 million refund for hydroxychloroquine purchase — Why Biden's latest vaccine goal is his hardest yet.
  3. Vaccines: Pfizer begins application for full FDA approval of COVID-19 vaccine — Moderna says its COVID booster shot shows promise against variants.
  4. Economy: U.S. adds just 266,000 jobs in April, far below expectations — Americans' return to the skies could benefit smaller airlines.
  5. World: WHO authorizes China's Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use — Mixed response in Europe to Biden's vaccine patents bombshell.
  6. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.

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