Silicon Valley — Ever wanted to ride a flying drone? Well, if you’ve got the money, you might get the chance to by the end of the year.
ABC News reported Monday that a Google-backed Silicon Valley startup has just completed testing on an “octocopter” that’s all-electric, can seat one person, and fly up to 15 feet in the air.
The company, Kitty Hawk, says all the necessary legal steps have been taken, and the Kitty Hawk Flyer — designed only for use over water — is just about ready for production. The company says it will begin selling the Flyer this year.
“You don’t need a pilot’s license, and you’ll learn to fly in minutes,” the company said in a statement, adding that the machine is “safe, tested and legal to operate in the United States in uncongested areas.”
On its website, Kitty Hawk says life for human beings will fundamentally change when people have the ability to freely travel at will:
“We believe when everyone has access to personal flight, a new, limitless world of opportunity will open up to them.”
Last year, Peter Diamandis, founding board member of Hyperloop One — a company leading the way into the future on the subject of mass transportation — described for Business Insider what a world with millions of flying cars and self-driving cabs might look like.
“Imagine if there’s a dozen ports or buildings,” he said. “You’ll fly from New Jersey to a rooftop on 5th (Avenue) and there will be an autonomous car waiting to take you to your final destination. It’s new routing capability for humans.”
Kitty Hawk isn’t alone in its endeavors. Another company, Zee.Aero — also backed by Google — is working on an electric plane that can take off and land vertically. Another in Dubai, Ehang, says it hopes to have a passenger-carrying drone ready for service by summer.
Though the Flyer isn’t exactly a flying DeLorean, the future of human travel appears to be arriving.