Last September, the Boeing-sponsored GoFly Prize was announced: a two-year international competition calling for designs for a personal flying device, with $2 million on the line.
Now, nine months into the contest, 10 Phase I winners have been chosen.
While the prompt was tame enough (“Design and build a safe, quiet, ultra-compact, near-VTOL [for vertical take-off and landing] personal flying device capable of flying 20 miles while carrying a single person”), the teams went full-blown Wile E. Coyote.
The unique inspiration behind each vehicle hasn’t been disclosed, but scrolling through the renderings calls to mind Return of the Jedi speeder bikes, paper airplanes, pool floats, egg timers and TRON-esque motorcycles.
GoFly Prize (10 images)
Six of the teams hail from the U.S., while the remaining four are from Latvia, the Netherlands, the U.K and Japan. They were selected from 600 entries submitted from 30 countries across six continents, with a panel of 97 industry experts weighing in.
While all 10 groups were awarded $20K each, they are not finalists, per se.
There are two phases left in the contest, but teams don’t have to win one to advance to the next. Phase II will award four $50K prizes in March 2019 for the best prototypes, and Phase III will award $1 million to a Grand Prize Winner (and three runner-up prizes) at a “Final Fly-Off” in the fall of 2019.
So a year from now, there could be a whole fleet of personal flying
deathtraps devices circling our stratosphere. Here’s hoping we get a dark horse jetpack.