In truly insane technology news, a New Zealand aeronautical firm has announced its intentions to produce and sell a functioning and reliable jetpack! The jetpack, a staple of sci-fi movies and TV, always represented the peak of technological advancement, a Jetsons-esque view of the not-so-distant future.
For years, companies have failed to deliver on the promise of Thunderball. Any products advertised as ‘jetpacks’ have been dangerous and practically unusable. The prospect of a malfunctioning jetpack (as seen on Arrested Development) has always served as a disincentive for innovation and investment in the risky business. That is, until recently.
New Zealand entrepreneur Glenn Martin has made it his life’s work to bring a jetpack to market. More than a business manoeuvre, Mr. Martin claims to have had a lifelong obsession with the transport. “I grew up as a child of the sixties, watched the space program, used to watch Jetsons, Thunderbirds, Lost In Space and I believed we’d all be having jetpacks when I grew up,” Mr. Martin told the ABC.
In the intervening years, Mr. Martin spent nearly thirty years researching and developing a functional jetpack. Now, Martin Aircraft claims to have produced a high-quality jetpack. The company is looking to expand and capitalise on interest in the technology; they expect to raise nearly twenty five million dollars in public investment after listing on the ASE. Fifty million ordinary shares will be sold for about fifty cents per share, beginning in November.
“Raising that money will actually take us through to commercialisation and the importance of that for us is the ability to grow as a company,” Martin Aircraft’s CEO, Peter Coker, told the ABC.
Controlled by a joystick, the jetpack can reach an altitude of above 1,000 metres and a speed of up to 74 kilometres per hour. A piston engine (fuelled by fossil fuels) pushes two high-intensity fans which create a propulsion system. The jetpack, which is expected to retail for around two hundred thousand dollars, will likely be sold to law enforcement, the military and large private security firms. In other words, it won’t be found under next year’s Christmas tree.
The first Martin Jetpacks are expected to reach the market in 2016. Stay tuned for more as it develops…
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