Boeing announced a new competition to encourage innovation.
The “Go Fly Prize” was announced this week at the SAE 2017 AeroTech Congress and Exhibition in Fort Worth, Texas. Boeing has been named as the competition’s main sponsor.
The competition states that $2m will be a awarded to a team that can successfully create, build, and demonstrates a user-friendly personal flying device. Or in more common terms: a jetpack. The organizers of the competition stated that they launched this competition in order to encourage innovation.
There are certain conditions that the winning jetpack must adhere to. The Go Fly Prize will only be awarded to a jetpack that can take off and land vertically, has to be safe to use, quiet, and as compact as possible. In addition, the jetpack also has to be able to carry a single person for a distance of 20 miles, without needing to recharge or refuel in between.
The competition is organized by Gwen Lighter, a self-proclaimed “serial entrepreneur” who has already been working on an idea for a jetpack for two years before Boeing stepped in to sponsor it.
Lighter said that the dream of human flight is universally shared, it unites humanity and something which will hopefully be demonstrated with the help of this competition.
The jetpack will not be able to solve overcrowding issues in urban areas or lighten the load of public transportation. The idea here is simply to explore the possibilities of human flight, rather than implement them.
According to Lighter, the amount of improved technologies and innovations in the field of transportation makes this competition something achievable, and not an absurd dream. Lighter used examples of 3D printing, improved battery technologies, autonomous vehicles, and lightweight drones as a way of saying that anything is possible.
Lighter believes that we are finally in an area of technology where a jetpack seems possible.
The prize money of the Go Fly competition will be awarded in three phases. In phase 1, 10 teams will receive $20 000 based on technical specifications. Phase 2 money will be given to 4 selected projects where each team will receive $50 000. The teams will be selected here based on best prototype and updated specifications. The last prize of $1m will be given to the winning team. This will be during a competition “fly-off” in late 2019. The competition will be judged by a panel of experts.
According to Lighter, the Go Fly competition was created to inspire and encourage a future where people use jetpacks in their everyday lives. At the end of the two-year competition, we will likely see a lot of new innovation.