The Founders' Story
The founders, Maki and Guy Kaplinsky, were inspired to develop ASKA based on their experience living in Tokyo. This mega-city offered eye-opening results from a 50-year testbed for urban living. The result?
Massive traffic congestion and over-crowded public transportation.
High housing costs, families crowded into tiny housing
Stressful and costly urban life, younger generations choosing not to marry or have kids: reducing the birth rate
Startups’ innovations are creating even more over-crowded commuting and living
Reduced productivity and quality of life
When Guy and Maki moved to Silicon Valley, they saw skyrocketing cost of living, people living in small housing, being stuck in traffic congestion for hours each day to commute. We should learn from what happened in Japan as a result of over-crowded cities. They asked themselves, ’is this what the future looks like for our kids and generations to come? “No”.
To the founders, this is a once in a 100 years time opportunity to create a dramatic change in the auto industry and to help people gain a better quality of living. So, after they sold their last startup (IQP Corporation) they focused on a new mission – to enable people to live in a quality environment, 30 - 100 miles outside a city and benefit from a reasonable cost of living and green space, yet easily commute to the city center in less than 30 minutes, door-to-door.
The result is the ASKA™ - the first viable Drive & Fly eVTOL (electric Vertical TakeOff and Landing) vehicle that can both drive on the road and fly autonomously in the sky. ASKA whisks people safely and affordably on their daily journeys. At the same time, Guy and Maki saw dramatic changes in the auto industry. Electric vehicles (EV) are now simpler to manufacture and companies like Tesla and many Chinese brands are able to rapidly develop and start selling innovative cars. So, how are traditional automakers going to compete?
The founders believe that ASKA™ offers traditional automakers a new area of value-added opportunity and a pathway to economic revival. The ASKA™ drive and fly vehicle has specifically been designed for automotive mass production. ASKA™ will shape consumer demand for Urban Air Mobility, and mass production will enable the price to drop to an affordable price for a commuter vehicle.
Maki and Guy Kaplinsky’s ongoing vision is to develop easy to use, autonomous flying transport solutions to reduce transit congestion in and out of urban areas.
Watch a short video interview of the founders on CNET.