With a hybrid gas/electric motor, Surefly is like a flying Prius (but way cooler)

Drones are already delivering us pizza and even our impulsive Amazon Prime purchases, so it was only a matter of time before a life-size model made the leap to the burgeoning air taxi market. One company in particular has unveiled its hybrid passenger-carrying model, the SureFly, and the aircraft could take flight as early as this year.

The Ohio-based firm, Workhorse, specializes in everything from autonomous drone delivery systems to hybrid-electric propulsion systems, and the SureFly is the perfect marriage of these technologies. The craft utilizes a carbon fiber fuselage and rotors as well as a fix-prop pitch design (meaning it has no wings, tail, tilt rotor or tilt wings) to minimize the overall weight. As an added design bonus, each of the four carbon fiber arms fold-down for convenient storage.

The Surefly can travel up to 70 miles on a single tank of fuel, with a top speed of 70 miles per hour. To get airborne, it relies on eight independent motors, each driving a single propeller. For additional safety, the air taxi also packs a backup lithium-ion battery in the event of a fuel shortage or mechanical malfunction.

“That way, if the engine should fail, you have five minutes to get down,” explained chief executive of Workhorse, Steve Burns. “And we even have a ballistic parachute, fired upward, like an ejector seat, so you can be 100 feet up, and it’ll still work. In a normal helicopter the rotor would chop it up, but with eight blades, there’s nothing directly overhead.”

Despite the promising lightweight design and impressive specs, the unit has yet to actually take flight. The SureFly is slated for display at the Paris Air Show at the end of June, however, no test flight is scheduled for that event either. SureFly isn’t alone in this regard by any means. There are plenty of air taxi startups vying for supremacy at the moment, and not a single one of them has fulfilled the rather crucial air-taxi capacity of transporting a human being to work. The maiden SureFly voyage is expected later this year.

If the SureFly does ever actually take flight and receive FAA approval, Workhorse sees a host of other potentially useful applications for the unit, ranging from agriculture to faster first-responder deployment. The company has yet to place a specific price tag on the SureFly, but Burns has stated that the units will sell for under $200,000. Eventually, he hopes to price the SureFly in the same bracket as a Tesla. Until then, we’ll just have to hold our breath, or not.

Emerging Tech

Forget fireworks. Japan will soon have artificial meteor showers on tap

Tokyo-based startup Astro Live Experiences is preparing to launch its first artificial meteor shower over Japan, serving as a showcase of its prowess in the space entertainment sector.

Muscle cars, trucks, and EVs roared into the subdued 2019 Detroit Auto Show

The 2019 Detroit Auto Show was the quietest edition of the event in recent memory, but that doesn't mean nothing significant happened inside the Cobo Center. Here are the new cars and concepts we saw at the show.

2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 is ready to strike with over 700 hp

The 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 revives one of the greatest names in American muscle cars, and gives Ford some ammunition in the horsepower war with Chevy and Dodge. Debuting at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show, the GT500 boasts over 700 hp.

Self-driving, electric, and connected, the cars of CES 2019 hint at the future

Car companies remained surprisingly quiet during CES 2018. But they spoke up in 2019. From electric hatchbacks you can buy in 2019 to super-futuristic mood-detecting technology, here are the major announcements we covered during the event.
Emerging Tech

Face-scanning A.I. can help doctors spot unusual genetic disorders

Facial recognition can unlock your phone. Could it also be used to identify whether a person has a rare genetic disorder, based on their facial features? New research suggests it can.
Emerging Tech

Lasers and bovine breathalyzer help determine how much methane cows produce

Cow farts and belches don't sound like catastrophic threats, but they contribute to the massive amounts of methane in the atmosphere. Recently, scientists set out to establish the numbers.
Emerging Tech

Yamaha’s new app lets you tune your motorcycle with a smartphone

It used to be that if you wanted to tune your motorcycle’s engine and tweak its performance, you needed specialized tools and even more specialized knowledge. Yamaha’s new Power Tuner app changes that.
Emerging Tech

Researchers discover a way to make 3D printing 100 times faster using light

Researchers at the University of Michigan have invented a new method of 3D printing which is up to 100 times faster than conventional 3D-printing processes. Here's how it works and why it could prove a game-changer for 3D printing.
Emerging Tech

Why wait? Here are some CES 2019 gadgets you can buy right now

Companies come to CES to wow us with their cutting edge technology, but only a few products are slated to hit the market right away. Here is our list of the best CES 2019 tech you can buy right now.
Emerging Tech

Drones: New rules could soon allow flights over people and at night

With commercial operators in mind, the U.S. government is looking to loosen restrictions on drone flights with a set of proposals that would allow the machines greater freedom to fly over populated areas and also at night.
Emerging Tech

Short film celebrates New Yorker’s amazing robot costumes

New York City resident Peter Kokis creates stunning robot costumes out of household trash. His designs are huge, heavy, and extremely intricate, and never fail to turn heads when he's out and about.
Emerging Tech

In a first for humankind, China is growing plants on the moon

Having recently landed a probe on the far side of the moon, China announced that it managed to grow the first plant on the moon, too. Here's why that matters for deep space travel.
Emerging Tech

Ford’s sweaty robot bottom can simulate 10 years of seat use in mere days

Ford has developed 'Robutt,' a sweaty robot bottom that's designed to simulate the effects of having a pair of human buttocks sitting on its car seats for thousands of hours. Check it out.
Emerging Tech

CES 2019 recap: All the trends, products, and gadgets you missed

CES 2019 didn’t just give us a taste of the future, it offered a five-course meal. From 8K and Micro LED televisions to smart toilets, the show delivered with all the amazing gadgetry you could ask for. Here’s a look at all the big…