The latest vehicle from Opener will apparently fly and won’t require a pilot’s license. Is this really the car of the future? (Photo via Opener)
We’ve been dreaming about a future with flying cars ever since Hanna- Barbara introduced us to The Jetsons. While most manufacturers are focused on creating self-driving cars, one company is still aiming to make the world’s first flying car. Californian startup Opener recently debuted BlackFly, which is apparently “the world’s first ultralight all electric fixed-wing vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) aircraft.” And you won’t even need a pilot’s license to drive it.
The vehicle, which looks like a cross between a boat and an airplane, can travel up to 25 miles at a speed of 62mph. Though the single-seat vehicle doesn’t require you to have a pilot’s license, you will have to complete the FAA Private Pilot written exam along with a company-mandated vehicle familiarization and operator training, making sure drivers some idea of what they’re doing. As for charging, the company boasts it will have Super Charging option meaning it takes less than half an hour to refuel its battery.
So what about safety? The vehicle features a geofence option to make sure flyers stay within the predetermined area. There’s also an automatic return-to-home button and ballistic parachute option in case all else fails. The thumbstick, which is what you use to control the car, gives you full control. So, if you stop in the middle of the air, the aircraft freezes in mid-air. Sounds like the company is making sure to make the vehicle safe, but it’s still something to approach with caution.
Aside from just being the coolest car on the block, the company sees BlackFly as a way to address growing traffic congestion problems. "Our vehicles are intended to liberate the public from the restrictions of two-dimensional road travel by opening up a new world of unfeathered three-dimensional flight," Opener's website states. "Compact and simple, our vehicles are pioneering a new era of stress-free travel."
Opener has been working on BlackFly quietly for the last nine years, and they’re just about ready to hit the consumer market. The company says the car will be ready to go on sale next year and will cost about the price of an SUV. So far the vehicle has impressed Larry Page aka Google’s co-founder. Page is currently funding the company. He’s also behind Kitty Hawk, a different startup which is currently testing a personal aircraft in Las Vegas.
Could this really be the future of driving? The fact you don’t need a pilot’s license is worrisome. Is a written test really enough to make sure someone is prepared enough to fly this vehicle? And just because the company is prepared doesn’t mean the FDA and cities will allow the vehicle. Plus, if the BlackFly gets popular enough won’t the skies become just as congested as the highways? Seems like there are still a lot of kinks to work out before we’re ready to hit the skies.
See the car in action after this link.
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