Who hasn't been stuck in traffic and dreamed of flying above it all?
We want to open up a world of possibilities in transportation by creating vehicles that can fly a person and take off / land vertically. We believe the best way to do this is through multi-rotor vehicles that are large enough to carry a person, at least in the long term. Think of it as a much bigger version of the toy quadcopters you've seen - except a whole lot better! We're currently working on an intermediate step, the FlytCycle to help bridge the gap between this vision and now.
When you think about how we as a society move people and things around, there are three options:
1) You can move things on the surface. This had historically worked great because it's cheap and easy, but as more and more people move to urban areas there's stuff in the way so we can't simply build more roads. This means that we'll never build our way out of our current traffic problems.
2) You can go underground. Big cities already do this with subways and tunnels, but these are very expensive options that take a long time to construct and only take you to/from limited places.
3) The last option is to go up. You can fly people around like in airplanes, but these generally require runways which we don't happen to have throughout our cities. Helicopters would work, but they require really large spaces to land which we also don't have (plus they're noisy)
So, given those options the answer is clear: make a new choice. We think that it's these really big multirotor vehicles that are fast, agile, safe, and can land in small areas. Imagine being able to fly in a straight line from your house to work - no traffic lights, no driving the opposite direction to get on the freeway, and no traffic to worry about because there's much more space in the air!
Now we're not blind idealists - we recognize that there are a lot of problems to be solved first. To name a few are safety, regulations, sharing airspace with drones and helicopters and planes, noise, and exactly where do you take off and land from? We know the journey won't be easy and technologies like self-driving cars can help with a lot of the current problems, but we still believe this will be an important form of transportation in the future.
Our goal is to be a platform for all types of flying things. We want to focus our efforts on building the portion of the vehicle that actually generates the thrust and does the flying, so that others can build things to attach beneath it to suit their needs. Or, think about it as saying we want to focus on the top part, and let anyone build things to go on the bottom. Through a series of attachment points and common plugs, we dream of a future where you can just as easily fly a pod for a person as a cargo pod. This would open up a world where a dedicated firefighter vehicle would share a lot in common with a cargo transport, and allow other companies to build and sell specialized versions to niche markets while retaining the economies of scale for the hard part that does the flying!
We imagine being able to select from a couple options for lift capacity, range, and cost that are interchangeable (so you might have a large heavy-lift version, and a smaller local transport option). The possibilities are endless!
Ok, so the future will have flying vehicles, but do we really need them?
The answer is a definitive YES! Once you start thinking about all the ways the world would be better if we could fly you see possibilities everywhere. The obvious example is taking people out of cars and flying them instead because we waste so much time driving around. But this doesn't only help the person who just cut their commute in half - taking people off our roads means less traffic for everyone who is still driving. It's one of the few times there's benefits to everyone - even those not using this technology!
Now think about emergency services. Police, fire, medical - all our emergency services have to drive like everyone else, but what if, for example, the police department could fly officers to the scene of a crime and get there in a fraction of the time. Or getting a fireman to the scene of a fire or medical emergency faster means they can start saving people sooner or administer needed aid. In many of these situations, a few minutes or even seconds can be the difference between life and death for someone. Once you think about it this way you realize how important this is.
But it doesn't stop there - there are also many areas where moving heavier cargo around can create new business opportunities and improve efficiency!
You can read more about potential use cases here.
What We've Achieved
When we started our our goal was simple: See if it were possible to build a machine that would fly a person with current technology. And we did it - we made people fly using a prototype built in a garage.
We're really proud of our work because it's a really hard problem to solve and we believe that it's an important problem to solve. We're currently working hard on the FlytCycle to give us the short-term business we need to tackle our long-term vision.
If you want to know more, check our work: