via The Verge
Last year, a $2 million global competition called the Go Fly Prize was introduced with the goal of producing “an easy-to-use, personal flying device.” These devices needed to be safe, quiet, ultra compact, and capable of carrying a single person 20 miles or more without refueling or recharging. Think of it like the first X-Prize competition, which effectively spurred the private space industry, or the DARPA Grand Challenge, which gave birth to the current self-driving car craze.
Today, the Phase I winners and their designs were revealed, and wow, these things look pretty bizarre. With names like “HummingBuzz” and “Blue Sparrow,” the winning designs are a bonkers-looking assortment of hoverbikes, passenger drones, and a few that defy comparison. What is true is that they all went beyond the concept of a “jetpack” to create something pretty original.
Each winner was selected from a pool of almost 3,000 entrants across 95 countries, a spokesperson said. The 10 winning teams come from Latvia, the Netherlands, Japan, the United Kingdom, Taiwan, and the United States. For Phase II of the competition, each winning team will need to build a fully functional version of their personal flying devices, and ideally not harm anyone in the process.