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We’ve all seen flying cars in plethora of science fiction movies and always wondered when would we be able to fly in those three-dimensional transport vehicles. Recently, accelerated technological advancement is turning many Sci-Fi stuff into reality. Dozens of startups in Silicon Valley have been focused on building flying cars and hover-boards. Most startups face problem of building a flying machine that is both powerful and light weight, the combo that is difficult to attain. Many have failed and many are still determined to not give up the dream.
A Canadian firm called Opener is finally taking us a step further in the future by announcing its flying car called BlackFly. BlackFly is world’s first ultralight, all-electric, fixed-wing aircraft. BlackFly is a single-seat Personal Aerial Vehicle (PAV) that takes off vertically from the ground. The reason to make BlackFly a vertical takeoff and landing craft was that most people don’t have a runaway for a drive-away. So instead of finding a large drive-away to get aircraft in air, you can simply takeoff vertically from the ground. It has a fixed wing at the front and rear of the vehicle, each with a bank of four propellers to provide both lift and thrust.
Although, the BlackFly is very efficient with power usage it’s disadvantage is that it can’t go very far. It has a maximum flying range of 40 kilometers (25 miles) and a top speed of 72 miles per hour (115kph). In compared to Tesla Model S, BlackFly has an efficiency of 245Wh/mi, whereas a Tesla Model S is around 320Wh/mi. The difference in range is also due to the fact that BlackFly has to fly, which means that it needs to use a smaller battery to reduce weight. BlackFly uses a battery of just around 8kWh to 12kWh whereas Tesla Model S uses a battery that weighs 60kWh to 70kWh.
BlackFly also comes with an autopilot system that you can use in order to land the vehicle in an emergency. The autopilot can also transport you back home. BlackFly’s design is modular with three backup control systems. According to Opener, BlackFly has performed perfectly across 40,000 propulsion system and tests. It has flown 12,000 miles during its tests. “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,” said Marcus Leng, CEO.
According to Opener, engineers have built an intuitive control system in BlackFly that anyone can learn to use very easily. Opener is also making a statement about its aircraft that you won’t need a license to fly it in America because it’s small and light enough to be considered an ultra-light vehicle by the FAA, while in Canada it requires an ultra-light pilot certification.
Opener hasn’t announced any details on the cost of BlackFly and when will it start taking orders from people. It may take some time for it to make its aircrafts more efficient and durable for public usage. In the meantime, governments are trying to build new transportation laws because of companies like Uber and Lyft. They may eventually find need to create new laws for three-dimensional transportation.
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