Ohio-based company Workhorse has announced that its innovative SureFly octocopter, essentially a human-sized drone for up to two people, is set to make its manned maiden voyage on January 8 in Las Vegas, prior to next year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES).
“CES is the perfect venue to show the SureFly,” Mike Dektas, a media spokesperson for Workhorse, told Digital Trends. “It is the premiere tech show in the world, and SureFly is a great example of how tech has entered the VTOL (vertical takeoff and landing) world.”
The futuristic carbon fiber SureFly vehicle was first shown off earlier this year at the Paris Air Show. Following its (weather permitting) voyage at CES, it will be on display at the event. It can carry up to 400 pounds, driven by eight separate propellers, and is powered by a hybrid system combining gas combustion engine and parallel battery pack.
Early versions of the craft will reportedly be user piloted, but an autonomous version isn’t out of the question for the future. In the air, it is able to cruise a maximum of 70 miles (with a maximum speed of 70 miles per hour) on a single tank of fuel — although we happen to think it’s pretty nifty on the ground as well, where its propeller arms fold down to allow the SuperFly to fit comfortably into a regular car garage.
“The SureFly reinvents the helicopter,” Dektas continued. “Pilots like that the SureFly is flown using a joystick, much the same as flying a drone — simple and easy to pilot.”
Deltas said that the octocopter wasn’t designed with a particular customer in mind, but that, “we feel the market will tell us who the customers for this are.” That might include precision agriculture, emergency responders, city commuters, military, cargo carrier, and others.
Personally, we just like the idea of arriving at the office via giant drone taxi. At an estimated retail cost of $200,000 when it hopefully goes on sale by late 2019, we’d essentially be working for free for several years to pay it off — but it would totally be worth it for the look on our colleagues’ faces!
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