JetPack secures funding to build a futuristic flying motorcycle
JetPack has raised a seed round of $2 million from investors indulging Draper Associates, Skype co-founder Jaan Tallinn, YC, Cathexis Ventures and a group of angels that it says will fund the development of the Speeder’s first functional prototype. Earlier this month, we reported on a competitor, Aviator Cycles, debuting its own prototype for a flying motorcycle.
These vehicles fit a niche market, likely best suited for futuristic/sci-fi-like recreation, rather than inter-city transport. Earlier this year, JetPack revealed plans for the their prototype, dubbed, the Speeder. The company claims the motorcycle can be controlled by a pilot, but will be mostly or completely autonomous, if desired. JetPack also claims the vehicle can reach speeds in excess of 400mph and has an impressive 5 minute refueling time.
“Should fully fund the first full-scale flying prototype, including all modeling designs and build,” says JetPack CEO and founder, David Mayman. Mayman is no stranger to pushing the edge in aerospace. He brings experience from creating an actual jet pack capable of speeds over 100mph and a small footprint.
JetPack believes the Speeder is more viable near-term than other VTOL designs because it will rely on turbine propulsion, rather than battery-based flight systems. Mayman states, “current battery energy density is just too low for most electrically powered VTOLs to be truly practical,” and that timelines optimistically for that to change are in the five to 10-year range.
Why it matters: JetPack appears to be entering a niche space of the eVTOL and aerial mobility industry. While other companies are emerging, their unique proposal of using turbine-based propulsion may bring them to market faster, but it remains to be seen if their operating costs will be superior to electric alternatives. Ultimately, it may not matter as these flying motorcycles are likely to be used solely for recreational purposes where operating economics aren’t as necessary of a consideration. Backed with Mayman’s experience in developing jet pack prototypes, we expect JetPack to be in the conversation of this sector in the coming years.
Source // Tech Crunch