Over the years I’ve occasionally posted about The Martin Jetpack in development in New Zealand. (See, for example, here and here.) Hardware development has progressed steadily if not exceptionally fast. They plan to begin selling vehicles in the second half of 2016.
Initially they will sell to emergency service providers and then sell to general public customers in 2017. The cost will be around US$200k. The vehicle will also be marketed for applications as an unmanned drone called the Martin Skyhook that can carry up to 120 kg.
Here’s a video of an unmanned flight test from last year:
It obviously doesn’t actually use jet engines but ducted fan driven by a two-stroke V4 piston engine. It can fly for up to 30 minutes. Here are the technical specs. Note it has a ballistic parachute for emergencies.
Most importantly for a start up with a new product in a new category of products, they have also made significant progress in obtaining funding. The Chinese company KuangChi Science Limited agreed to put A$50M into the company: Martin Aircraft signs agreement with KuangChi Science Limited.
This allowed them to move to an IPO, where they can raise additional funding: Update on Cornerstone investor and IPO
And they began trading on the Australian stock market on Tuesday:
- Martin Aircraft Begins Trading on the ASX
- Jetpack Maker Rockets, Then Comes Down to Earth: Shares of Martin Aircraft surge 50% on debut but end 10% higher – WSJ
So it looks like we may finally see an actual commercial ducted-fan VTOL one-person vehicle on the market: