Swedish company Jetson Aero has built what it says is the first commercially available personal electric aerial vehicle and hopes that in the future it will be able to replace traditional cars as a means of transport.
The Jetson One is a vertical take off and landing vehicle for one person that the company says takes five minutes to learn how to fly. It has four horizontally mounted propellers, one at each corner of the vehicle, like a small civilian radio controlled drone.
Jetson Aero Founder and Chief Technical Officer Tomasz Patan explained that the vehicle’s flight control system was a fly-by-wire system which means it uses computers to process the flight control inputs.
The aluminium and carbon fibre, eight-engine ‘flying car’, sells for 92,000 USD and can reach a top speed of 102 km/h and run for 18 minutes.
Jetson Aero Founder and President, Peter Ternstrom, said there was a lot of interest from all over the world and that so far they have sold around 150 units, 80% to the United States, to people who wanted the latest innovations in their garages.
“It’s absolutely no turbulence, so it’s very, very steady, you know, even if you fly straight it’s steady and it feels a bit like a magic carpet and it induces this profound, almost ecstatic feeling of experiencing flight,” Ternstrom said.
For now, battery technology is holding back progress, but the company hopes that with advances in the field, the vehicle will be able to fly for longer periods in a few years.
Ternstrom said the ultimate goal was to revolutionise transport by making “everyone a pilot” but that many obstacles remained until that could become a reality.
“There’s an entire legal framework that needs to be changed for this. So this is the first very, very, very small step where we are aiming at letting the user having a lot of fun. The practicality things are coming much later – maybe in a coming Jetson product that maybe has longer range or maybe has space for more people,” he said.
But for now, for anyone who has the opportunity to fly the Jetson One, Patan’s advice is: fly close to the ground to get the best experience.