So the future is here. Or so they say. As you’ll find out soon, you can fly yourself around for limited periods in a drone or hit the skies with a personal jetpack, only not for very long it seems. But wait! What about the long-promised flying cars? We want long distance air-road-petrol-station-air-road alternatives. Well here it is. The airborne alternative that can get you pretty much anywhere within a 500 mile radius!
Behold the TF-X (which stands for Totally Flyable X-Wing Thing). So it’s a car, but it’s also a mini-plane. Cool huh? The TF-X is not really any bigger than a normal car but it can transport you and three cronies anywhere you fancy going regardless of normal relevant road related limits such as speed, traffic, or well, roads. The dudes at Terrafugia, which is latin for ‘Earth Escape’, reckon their flying car is much easier to master than your average aeroplane but who cares anyway because it has an autopilot feature that means you can just jump in, say take me to wherever and away you go via Googlemaps. Vertical take-off is an impressive feature of the TF-X, making it simple to rise above your peers from anywhere – and you could park it on the roof of your penthouse apartment or better your annoying neighbour’s head. So it’s finally here and it costs about the same as a Lamborghini. Excited yet? Well don’t be cos this particular piece of tech ain’t ready yet, not e ven nearly. So expect grey hairs and grandchildren before one of these is for sale in, according to Terrafugia, 10-12 years. Bah.
Back in 1965 our favourite English spy James Bond, played by suave Scotsman Sean Connery, escaped some especially merciless minions by flying out of a sticky situation with his own personal jetpack, Icarus stylee.
Now you too can escape Bond bad guys, or even change lightbulbs without ladders should you wish, because the personal jetpack is really real. That’s right…it’s here, and it’s not nearly as practical, safe, nor cost effective as a pogo stick but it is infinitely cooler – and if you wanna fly, this little beauty is just the ticket.
The JB-9 gives you upto 200 km/h of kerosene fuelled firepower with absolutely no requirement to hold any sort of license. In practice this equates to around 10 minutes of personalised flight time whizzing around pretty much anywhere you like, with a lightweight deathtrap strapped on to your back.
- Jetpack comfy straps for casual wearing and flying.
- Modern retro design melding James Bond with GI-Joe and spray-painting it matte grey.
- Evel Knievel style flame retardent suit adds to the retrofuturist vibe.
Creator David Mayman teamed up with engineer Nelson Tyler to create the jetpack and Mayman has been zipping through the air with one for a while now and lives to tell the tale. Despite this, he is still not prepared to actually launch the project for commercial sale yet feeling that there isn’t currently enough infrastructure for training – nor proper safety precautions for jet engines under your armpits right now.
But what the hell, the sky is the limit right? Throw caution to the wind we say. We wanna fly jetpacks.
Do you feel like you blinked and missed the invention of the drone? One minute it didn’t exist and the next minute you could pick one up for $40 in any old toy shop and you’re suddenly taking sumptuous aerial shots that required a helicopter, a steady hand and a pretty impressive zoom lens back in those long lost days when your phone had buttons and camera didn’t have a phone.
Not content with the rise of the drone thus far, Chinese company Ehang want to put you in the thing, whizz you around town at 500 metres above sea level and then drop you off safe and sound at your chosen destination. Huazhi Hu, CEO of Ehang is in fact pretty obsessed with the safe and sound bit after his partner died in a plane crash, closely followed by his flying instructor in a helicopter crash. We can’t decide if this inspires confidence or not, but on the plus side they zip around skyscrapers like something out of bladerunner.
For 23 minutes, maximum. Not 22 nor 24 minutes, but 23 minutes. Well actually they can do 22 if you want. After that you can plug your drone into any convenient man-sized drone charging unit for 2 hours and 40 minutes and you’re good to go anywhere you can dream of, within a 23 minute radius.