Remember, the world's first flying backpack that can turn you into an "Iron Man"?
In 2015, Jetpack Aviation (JPA) launched the JB-9 wingless jetpack, flying around the Statue of Liberty in the air for the first time.
In recent years, JPA has been deeply researching "people-friendly" flying technology, including flying motorcycles that can let everyone go to the sky.
Just recently, the world's first jet-driven flying motorcycle, Speede , finally came to our eyes.
The world’s first flying jet motorcycle, a realistic version of Aladdin’s magic carpet
This flying motorcycle is called "Speeder".
JPA calls it "the ultimate form of personal mobile vehicles."
At a glance, it looks like it has just broken through the barrier of time and space in a science fiction movie and suddenly entered the real world.
The rigorous and precise design of the shell, the sharp and cold color scheme, people can drive into the air only by sitting on it, without any external protective cover-the motorcycle seems to be really just a carrier, and people already have the super ability to fly at any time. .
Of course, in reality, it has a lot of technology behind it.
Speeder is equipped with VTOL (vertical take-off and landing) technology, so take-off and landing only need a place the size of a parking space.
The onboard software developed by JPA can ensure the stability of the motorcycle in flight, so that it can stay still in the air like a helicopter.
They spent a year and a half studying the control system and software development. In the latest test, the "speeder" can already take off, climb, turn vertically, and hover steadily.
The built-in autonomous management system of motorcycles allows drivers who are first to test flying motorcycles and inexperienced mass consumers to boldly take off on motorcycles.
The biggest purpose of these technologies is primarily to ensure safety.
Speeder weighs 300 pounds (approximately 136 kilograms) and can carry twice the weight of the locomotive itself. It can carry up to approximately 270 kilograms and can seat two people.
The body is currently equipped with 4 turbojet engines, which are distributed throughout the body of the motorcycle, and the thrust can be monitored and adjusted at any time. It is reported that the final production version may have 8 engines.
Unlike JPA’s jetpack, you don’t need to do much preparation in actual driving.
Just step on the motorcycle, sit on the motorcycle in a nearly tummy posture, hold the control handle with both hands, and you can drive.
In the middle of the two control sticks, there is a large 12-inch screen with a built-in two-way aviation radio system, which will display information such as navigation, altitude, speed, fuel, battery, and safety status, and guide the pilot to fly at any time.
The motorcycle can fly at an altitude of 15,000 feet (approximately 4572 meters) and produce a maximum thrust of 1,200 pounds (approximately 544 kilograms).
At this height of nearly 5,000 meters, I would like to ask you if you are afraid. Even if it can fly, I am afraid that many people will not dare to sit…
There are also some details, such as it can fly at night, fly in light to moderate rain, equipped with a navigation system and instrument lights, and so on.
In fact, JPA announced the Speeder prototype concept in 2019. It has been refined and improved in recent years. It has only recently completed its first flight and passed the test. Next, it will use a smaller frame and carbon fiber body panels. Fly again without rope.
▲ In the latest flight test, Speeder successfully completedthe first flight of its 1/3 scale prototype P1 .
This time, the latest trend of JPA is to announce their commercial flying motorcycle, and it is two versions.
One is the military/commercial version (Military Speeder), which requires the pilot to have a personal pilot license, flying at a speed of 250 mph, which can fly for about 35 minutes.
One is the civilian recreational version (Recreational Speede), which does not require any flying license, and only needs to receive training at JPA. The flight speed is 60 mph and can fly for 15 minutes.
As a civilian leisure version, it is the first fully stable vertical take-off and landing personal flying motorcycle with turbo power in history, which is equivalent to an "entertainment spaceship."
Think of the motorcycle roller coaster in an amusement park. It's probably hundreds of times more exciting than that.
As a military/commercial version, its role is broad.
Speeder can not only transport cargo, replenish items between ships (compared to helicopters in terms of speed and cost), but can also be used as an emergency rescue tool, such as quickly transporting patients to hospitals, evacuation of victims, and so on.
It is also worth mentioning that Speeder initially used jet fuel, diesel or kerosene as its flight power, but they recently stated that all jet flying motorcycles will not cause fuel pollution. They have reached an agreement with "Prometheus Fuels" to use 100% zero net carbon fuel.
In terms of price, the civilian casual version sells for as high as US$380,000, which is about 2.46 million yuan. It is not cheap. You can buy a small plane. The military/commercial version has not yet been fixed.
Speeder will be available in 2023 and is now available for pre-order.
Flying backpack, flying car, flying motorcycle, which one is better?
There are many companies that make flying backpacks, flying cars, and flying motorcycles.
These futuristic vehicles have long been commonplace at various auto shows every year. However, many of them are still in the concept or prototype stage.
Jetpacks already in the middle of the last century, has had invented Tony Lovell aircraft flying backpack , later Google X "undertake" to start further research and development, but in the end because the cost of fuel consumption and noise problems, and finally gave up.
In recent years, the British inventor Richard Browning, the French inventor Frank Zapata, and the Dubai trapeze Vince Riffert… have all actively become modern Iron Man, and then "the backpack goes to the sky . "
▲ The French "Iron Man" Zapata used the air jet device Flyboard Air to complete the crossing of the English Channel
When New Zealand Martin Aircraft Company demonstrated the "first flight" of its flight bag in 2015, it claimed to be the "world's first flight bag manufacturer", but the product has been tested, and the personal commercial version is expected to be 2030.
The jetpack made by JPA is relatively successful and closer to consumer products.
Most of the flight backpacks currently on the market are powered by gasoline engines, rockets and water vapor injection. The difference between the flight backpacks that JPA has studied for about 40 years is that its power comes from jet turbines. Aviation fuel or diesel powered.
▲ Picture from: digitaltrends
This allows it to fly to an altitude of more than 10,000 feet (about 3,048 meters). At the same time, it is small and light, so it can be packed into a car and easily taken out, but its flight time is therefore only 10 minutes .
It's just that the flying backpack is too "free" and there is still a big safety hazard after all.
Compared with its own flying backpack, JPA's flying motorcycle is faster, has a heavier load, and is more convenient to take off. More importantly, it can take off and land vertically and has extremely high stability.
Speeder's history can be traced back to the 1960s, similar to the concept of flying vehicles, such as motor Hover Scooter, then it has been proposed, but due to the instability of the fuselage driving problem , or later died.
Aerofex, a California-based company, launched a prototype flying motorcycle in January 2012. In 2014, Australian inventor Chris Malloy created the flying motorcycle Hoverbike, also known as the "world's first flying motorcycle . "
This flying motorcycle can fly up to 3000 meters high, at a speed of 160 kilometers per hour, and up to 150 kilometers. Hoversurf, the drone company behind it, continues to promote the commercialization of flying motorcycles .
In contrast, JPA's flying motorcycles are more advanced in design and fly higher.
Compared with flying backpacks and flying motorcycles, flying cars may be more popular and favored by the public.
Reports and news about flying cars appear almost every few months, especially this year.
Someone started experimenting with flying cars around the 1920s. For many people at that time, it had only appeared in science fiction movies.
▲In 1917, G. Curtis showed a new type of transportation for cars and airplanes, named Autoplane
In March 2009, Transition , the world's first flying car, had a successful first flight test . In 2018, the world's first mass-produced flying car, PAL-V, began to accept reservations .
▲ Picture from: PAL-V
Now, it is reported that more than 150 companies around the world are developing flying cars, and at least 425 flying cars are being developed .
From Toyota, Geely, Great Wall, Volkswagen, and Porsche in the automotive sector, to Airbus and Boeing in the aviation sector, as well as Google, Uber, Tencent, and Intel in the Internet sector, as well as start-ups Lilium, Joby Aviation, Archer, Volocopoter, and billion Aviation and so on, together set off a wind of flying cars .
The recent electric flying car of Xiaopeng Huitian has made flying cars a hot topic for a while .
▲Joby S4 prototype, Wisk Cora, Archer Maker, EHang EHang 216, Velocopoter 2X, Xiaopenghui Tianluhanger X1 (the order is from the top left and the horizontal number to the bottom right, the pictures are from LastPost )
In fact, this is also because the prospects for air traffic are becoming more and more visible.
The well-known investment bank Morgan Stanley predicts that with the improvement of technology and capital investment, the size of the autonomous flying car market in 2040 may reach US$1.5 trillion.
In fact, whether it’s a flying backpack, a flying motorcycle, or a flying car, the difference between them is almost the same as on the ground without the word "flying." A checkpoint.
For example, safety, personal safety always comes first. First of all, it is necessary to maintain a stable and reliable flight, and to prevent the vehicle from falling out of control or accidents, and even the influence of various types of inclement weather, which is twice as dangerous for drivers in the sky and pedestrians on the ground;
▲ In 2015, the Slovak company AeroMobil crashed during a test drive, and the driver escaped by parachuting.
For example, battery life. Now the eVTOL (pure electric + vertical take-off and landing) solution is the mainstream, but what kind of battery has a large capacity without heavy weight, and what kind of energy can reduce costs, carry more passengers, and extend the flight in urban buildings. Time, we have to continue to explore.
For example, noise, the closer you are to the ground, the greater the impact on people's daily life. Maybe the traffic problem has not been solved yet, and the noise problem is enough for people to escape from the city.
For example, the price. At present, the flying car for the C-end is just a few million, and no ordinary person can easily consume it. Can buy the first-generation flying car instead of buying a mature version of a helicopter?
▲ Picture from: Lilium Flying Car
There is also the most important basic condition-policy. At present, the airworthiness standards and air traffic laws of all countries in the world are not yet perfect, because it will change the entire transportation network structure, which will change our urban form, travel life, and housing. Way.
There are more. The design, material technology, environmental protection, and wider privacy and infrastructure construction of the flying car itself constitute a huge system project, which requires many industries and departments to realize it.
All companies are staking their fields, flying + various branches in a certain field, and there will surely be many different faces in the future. At present, from the perspective of operating models and profit margins, flying cars may first have the most development potential.
▲ Picture from: Aircraft in "Western World"
Both the market and consumers are waiting for an iconic flying car that can truly land.
Davis Hackenberg, NASA's air travel project manager, once judged the commercial progress of flying cars.
- 2021: Flying cars will "enter large-scale designated areas for certification testing or operation demonstrations."
- Before 2025: Combined with autonomous driving, flying cars can drive in low-density airspace and put into commercial use, and an ordinary person can travel in the air for short distances;
- 2028-2030: Flying cars will be used commercially in medium-density airspace, and flying cars will begin to make real profits.
▲ The observatory at the Paramount Miami World Center is planned to be transformed into a flying car port for future flying cars to take off and land.
We have already witnessed the new changes in 2021.
As the new movements of air vehicles become more frequent, the time it takes for them to become popular will continue to shorten in eagerness.
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