Flying cars that seem like intriguing stuff from sci-fi thrillers are set to become a reality with the ‘BlackFly’, reports CBS News correspondent John Blackston who has been closely following the latest tech developments in the Silicon Valley. While touring the Hiller Aviation Museum which houses prototypes of flying vehicles that never actually took off, Blackston got chatting with the museum’s tech expert Wille Turner who said. “Earlier there wasn’t much technology in these flying vehicles, however these days computers can manipulate controls from the ground”. That’s when Blackston got a surprise call from and Marcus Lang the man behind the idea of making this flying car a reality, inviting Blackston to an unmarked building in Silicon Valley to witness the trials of the aircraft.
The single-seater air craft’s features include being autonomous, equipped with an extremely powerful electric motor that aids in VTOL on its belly which quite resembles a whale’s belly. The ‘BlackFly’ has already undergone 10,000 miles of being airborne and 1000 flights carrying a payload of 200 pounds and is all set to be put up for sale in 2019 at the price of an SUV!
BlackFly joins the ranks of flying prototypes being tested by Uber and Google and might just overtake their release.
Much like self driving cars with a thumbstick to climb the ‘Black Fly’ is extremely easy to pilot claims Marcus Lang adding that learning to ride this ‘Black Fly’ involves a mere 5 min of simulator training and makes it an ideal personal electric flying vehicle and does not require the user to own a pilot’s licence. Amongst the safety features is also a ‘return-to-home’ button for first time users.
Alan Eustace one of the directors on board the BackFly team and was also the former Tech Knowledge President at Google says, “Things go from impossible to inevitable in a very short period of time”. Alan is credited with successfully parajumping from the stratosphere; he was carried by a balloon up there and he parachuted a 136,000 feet back to the Earth setting a world record in 2014.
Revealing more information about the BackFly Alan said that the autonomous craft can complete a 25 miles journey on its electric batteries for example it would complete its flight from the Silicon Valley to San Francisco in 8 minutes flat.
Alan said the main challenge isn’t lack of tech knowhow but the regulations of the FAA which prevent flying the BackFly that comes under ultra light aircrafts over urban areas and also during night time. This is the area one needs to work upon he says.
The company behind the ‘BlackFly’ goes by the name Opener which made an announcement declaring the Co-founder of Google Larry Page as a major investor in BlackFly.