Whether it’s artificial intelligence, autonomous cars or laser cannons, it’s hard to deny we seem to be living in the future. With these futuristic gadgets becoming part of our daily lives, it seems it’s also time for us to embrace jetpacks.
As of this week, Boeing has introduced a $2 million global competition called the Go Fly Prize. Announced at an aerospace industry conference in Texas, the prize is designed to encourage teams to produce “an easy-to-use, personal flying device”. The hope is that the competition will incentivize students, engineers, and inventors to pursue the development of a vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) device. To win the price, the device needs to be safe, quiet, and ultra-compact (i.e. wearable), while also being capable of carrying a single person 20 miles or more without refueling or recharging.
The competition, spearheaded by Gwen Lighter, has been shopped around by its founder for over two years now. After finally landing Boeing as a sponsor, Lighter believes that recent advances in technology mean the idea of a jetpack is suddenly feasible. Improved battery technology, 3D printing, and lightweight drones mean that the material needed to lift a person or object into the air already exist. All that needs to happen now is the innovation to put it together into a safe consumer application.
If you’re interested in starting your own jetpack development, the Go Fly contest will award prize money in three phases. Phase I will award ten $20,000 prized based on technical specifications, while Phase II will award four $50,000 prizes to the best prototypes and revised specs. The remaining $1 million will be awarded to the winner of the “Final Fly-Off” in the fall of 2019. There, judges led by experts from Boeing and other organizations will choose the best jetpack and winning team.
Think you can build a jetpack? The signup is just a click away.
Source: The Verge