Silicon Valley startup reveals new 'BlackFly' flying car prototype that 'anyone can pilot' - HabariCloud
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Silicon Valley startup reveals new ‘BlackFly’ flying car prototype that ‘anyone can pilot’

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Silicon Valley startup reveals new ‘BlackFly’ flying car prototype that ‘anyone can pilot’

A Silicon Valley startup has developed a flying car prototype that it claims ‘anyone can pilot.’

Called BlackFly, the single-seat, all-electric aircraft doesn’t require the flyer to have a pilot license in order to operate it in the US, according to Palo Alto-based Opener. 

Opener first drew up concepts for BlackFly nine years ago and has now built an early prototype that can travel 25 miles at speeds of up to 62mph. 

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A Silicon Valley startup has developed a flying car prototype that it claims 'anyone can pilot.' Called BlackFly, the single-seat, all-electric aircraft doesn't require a pilot's license to fly

A Silicon Valley startup has developed a flying car prototype that it claims 'anyone can pilot.' Called BlackFly, the single-seat, all-electric aircraft doesn't require a pilot's license to fly

A Silicon Valley startup has developed a flying car prototype that it claims ‘anyone can pilot.’ Called BlackFly, the single-seat, all-electric aircraft doesn’t require a pilot’s license to fly

WHAT IS THE BLACKFLY FLYING CAR?

BlackFly is a flying car prototype developed by Palo Alto-based startup Opener. 

Developers have tested it in 1,000-plus flights and 10,000-plus miles flown.

Opener hopes it will be affordable, costing about the price of an SUV.    

Here’s the vehicle’s specs: 

  • It’s 13’x7″ wide, 13’x5″ long, 5ft high
  • Weighs approximately 313lbs
  • Can reach speeds of up to 62mph
  • Includes autonomous features 
  • Battery can be recharged in 25 minutes 
  • Comes with an optional parachute 

BlackFly is an ultralight vehicle that consumes less energy than a traditional electric car and is also built to be steathily quiet. 

The battery can be recharged in as little as 25 minutes.  

Users don’t need a pilot’s license to operate it, but they must take part in minimal training, including sitting in a simulator for about five minutes.  

It’s powered by eight, small electric motors and controlled using a responsive joystick.  

Opener CEO Marcus Leng hopes that the BlackFly flying car will be ready to go on sale as soon as next year.

Unlike other flying car models, Leng plans to keep BlackFly affordable, with a price tag near the cost of a traditional SUV. 

Earlier models may be more expensive, however.  

The vehicle, which has been tested in Canada, takes off and lands with a joystick, but also has a 'return to home' feature that enables autonomous flight back to a landing base

The vehicle, which has been tested in Canada, takes off and lands with a joystick, but also has a 'return to home' feature that enables autonomous flight back to a landing base

The vehicle, which has been tested in Canada, takes off and lands with a joystick, but also has a ‘return to home’ feature that enables autonomous flight back to a landing base

‘Opener is re-energizing the art of flight with a safe and affordable flying vehicle that can free its operators from the everyday restrictions of ground transportation,’ Leng said in a statement. 

The hope is to democratize ‘three-dimensional transportation’ such as flying cars, while maintaining safety.  

Opener has conducted rigorous testing on BlackFly, including 1,000-plus flights and 10,000-plus miles flown. 

‘We first flew 10,000 miles. We did a thousand-plus flights,’ Leng told CBS. ‘Autonomous. And we had a payload of 2,000 pounds.’

Users don't need a pilot's license to operate it, but they must take part in minimal training given by Opener, including sitting in a simulator for about five minutes

Users don't need a pilot's license to operate it, but they must take part in minimal training given by Opener, including sitting in a simulator for about five minutes

Users don’t need a pilot’s license to operate it, but they must take part in minimal training given by Opener, including sitting in a simulator for about five minutes

Unlike other flying car models, Leng plans to keep BlackFly affordable, with a price tag near the cost of a traditional SUV. Earlier models may not be as inexpensive, however

Unlike other flying car models, Leng plans to keep BlackFly affordable, with a price tag near the cost of a traditional SUV. Earlier models may not be as inexpensive, however

Unlike other flying car models, Leng plans to keep BlackFly affordable, with a price tag near the cost of a traditional SUV. Earlier models may not be as inexpensive, however

The vehicle, which has been tested in Canada, takes off and lands with a joystick, but also has a ‘return to home’ feature that enables autonomous flight back to a landing base.  

BlackFly also has the option of being outfitted with a ballistic parachute. 

‘When you press the thumb-stick to climb, you have absolute full control. When you stop in the middle of the air and go off the joystick, the aircraft freezes,’ Leng told CBS. ‘And when I say freezes… it literally freezes in the air.’ 

It’s not designed to drive on roads; instead, it’s more similar to a ‘human-carrying drone,’ according to the BBC

Leng is joined by a board of directors that includes former Google and NASA employees. 

Alan Eustace, who previously worked as senior vice president of knowledge at Google and serves on Opener’s board, heralded BlackFly’s achievements.   

The vehicle, which has been tested in Canada, takes off and lands with a joystick, but also has a 'return to home' feature that enables autonomous flight back to a landing base

The vehicle, which has been tested in Canada, takes off and lands with a joystick, but also has a 'return to home' feature that enables autonomous flight back to a landing base

The vehicle, which has been tested in Canada, takes off and lands with a joystick, but also has a ‘return to home’ feature that enables autonomous flight back to a landing base

BlackFly is an ultralight vehicle that consumes less energy than a traditional electric car and is also built to be steathily quiet. The battery can be recharged in as little as 25 minutes

BlackFly is an ultralight vehicle that consumes less energy than a traditional electric car and is also built to be steathily quiet. The battery can be recharged in as little as 25 minutes

BlackFly is an ultralight vehicle that consumes less energy than a traditional electric car and is also built to be steathily quiet. The battery can be recharged in as little as 25 minutes

‘The future of Aviation begins today, Eustace said in a statement. 

‘The dream of flight, which was so difficult and expensive to obtain, will soon be within the reach of millions’ 

‘OPENER is putting the fun back into flying and opening up a new world of possibilities,’ he added. 

The move comes as Google founder Larry Page’s flying car startup, Kitty Hawk, received funding from the US military earlier this month. 

It’ll no doubt help Kitty Hawk get closer to its goal of making the futuristic flying car available for test flights to the public. 

MEET THE KITTY HAWK: GOOGLE X FOUNDER REVEALS HIS INCREDIBLE FLYING ‘JET SKI’

Kitty Hawk is an electrical aircraft that resembles a flying jet ski, but it doesn’t require a pilot’s license to fly.

It includes ‘Godfather of self-driving cars,’ Sebastian Thrun as chief executive  and co-owner, and Larry Page among its investors.

The vehicle weighs around 220lbs (100kg) and can hit speeds of up to 25 miles per hour (40kph).

According to the Kitty Hawk site, the machine is ‘safe, tested and legal to operate in the US’, as long as it is flown in ‘uncongested areas.’

Users can learn to fly the strange vehicle in minutes, the company claims.

The prototype can only fly around 10 metres (33 feet) over water, and the video of the vehicle shows it gliding over a lake in California.

The company is offering a $2000 (£1560) discount to those willing to pay an early $100 (£78) deposit for a vehicle now, though it has not said how much the vehicles will cost.

This prepayment will grant the discount as well as some early test flights with the Kitty Hawk, according to The New York Times.

Source: MailOnline | Copyright © MailOnline, All Rights Reserved

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