The future of personal flying transportation could look a lot different than a jetpack. The Boeing-sponsored GoFly Prize has announced the 10 winners of the first phase of its international competition challenging teams to create personal flying devices.
The winning teams will focus next on developing prototypes from their concept designs. The aim is to create a device that can carry a single person for 20 miles (32 kilometers) without needing to top off fuel or batteries.
The Leap airbike concept uses a five-rotor design that makes it look like a big human-piloted drone. The geometric angles give it some futuristic flair. And it helps that the concept drawing features a rock-star-cool pilot who could double as an extra in the Solo Star Wars movie.
A motorcyle-style ride is a popular choice for the GoFly competitors. The S1 from team Silverwing uses two electric motors with ducted rotors positioned behind the pilot.
"The aircraft makes a 90-degree transition from vertical take-off to horizontal cruise flight," Silverwing says. That would make it perform like a personal version of the US Air Force Osprey aircraft.
This groovy comic book-like illustration comes from GoFly team Tetra and shows the Tetra 3 concept. It looks like it could zip over the surface of a Star Wars planet.
Georgia Tech's Hummingbuzz could star in a sci-fi story. It's ridden in a motorcycle-like fashion, but that's where the resemblance to any ground vehicle ends. The design features a "fully electric, ducted coaxial rotor," which is a concept aviation designers have been playing with for powering hovering vehicles.
GoFly team Mamba says its self-titled concept craft "is a hexcopter emphasizing safety, certifiability, and performance. Shrouded rotors and a tilting empennage are incorporated." The empennage refers to the stabilizing tail section. The bright red color scheme is a nice touch.
Penn State University aerospace engineering students and faculty came up with this unusual design that looks like an evolved helicopter with a scorpion-like tail holding the rotors in an overhead position.
Students and professors from Texas A&M University developed the all-electric Harmony concept for the Boeing-sponsored GoFly competition. The team says it's "designed to minimize noise and maximize efficiency, safety, reliability, and flight experience." This is one of the more unusual-looking concepts among the top 10 GoFly submissions.
US GoFly team Scoop says this tilt-rotor design could achieve cruise speeds of 70 knots. The team captain is Alex Smolen, a self-taught programmer with experience flying and building multicopters.
This might look like some sort of weird go-kart, but it's meant to get off the ground and not race around a track. The Flykart 2 definitely takes some design inspiration from the go-kart world, but adds 10 rotors to the equation. It looks like a comfortable ride.
Team Aeroxo LV from Latvia went all in with a futuristic rotor-heavy design for this rideable bike-like craft. It looks like the lovechild of a motorcycle and a drone.
Aeroxo LV describes the ERA Aviabike as a "tilt rotor aerial vehicle type that combines VTOL capabilities of helicopter with range and speed of fixed-wing aircraft." "VTOL" stands for "vertical take-off and landing."