A Californian tech firm has raised $2m from investors to develop a flying motorcycle prototype.
JetPack Aviation has landed the cash from venture capital firms Draper Associates, Cathexis Ventures, Y Combinator, and a group of angel investors including Skype co-founder Jaan Tallinn.
The funds will be used to build the first full-size prototype of the company’s Speeder vertical take-off and landing aircraft.
The Los Angeles-based business said the aircraft will be able to hit speeds of 400 miles an hour and heights of 15,000 feet, with a pilot or operated remotely. The Speeder has no exposed rotors, but will be able to take off and land vertically, making it a much safer than other vertical take-off and landing vehicles.
Revolutionising air travel
JetPack Aviation said the Speeder “will revolutionise the way paramedics reach their patients, the way the military insert and extract personnel and medivac the injured”.
The business, led by chief executive and founder David Mayman, has already created a jet backpack, which has been certified by the Federal Aviation Administration, and has an agreement with the US Navy Special Forces for use in short-distance troop transport.
Mayman intends to develop two flying motorcycle models, he told specialist title TechCrunch. The first will be for the military and commercial use. A more lightweight version will be for recreational use, with a much reduced top speed of 60 miles an hour.
The recreational Speeder will cost $380,000, but the firm is yet to price the commercial vehicle.
JetPack Aviation has been working on this project since last August, and currently has developed working prototypes one-third of the finished model.
“I can’t imagine someone not being excited about a flying motorcycle,” said Y Combinator partner Jared Friedman when the project was first announced in March.
Friedman added: “Jetpack Aviation created the future with Speeder, and I look forward to seeing how this technology transforms the dreaded commute, vacation travel, and everyday errands.”