We don’t know when passenger drones will actually become part of standard transportation. Truth be told, everything is so uncertain because it’s such a new and rapidly evolving space. What we do know is, flying those things look fun. And if you want to get in on the action as soon as possible, the Jetson One is likely your best chance to do it.
A personal aircraft, it’s a single-person recreational vehicle that’s configured as a drone-style multicopter, allowing it to be flown with the same relative ease as a racing quad or a photography drone. Well… maybe not that easy, but it should be a lot more accessible than a typical plane.
The Jetson One has a single-seat that’s suspended in a rigid aluminum spaceframe, which, the outfit claims, is designed after the safety cells used in race cars. That frame is connected to four arms, each of which holds a pair of propellers in a coaxial configuration, so you have a total of eight props to keep the whole thing airborne. Eight electric outrunner motors, which collectively puts out 118 horsepower, drive each of those props, respectively, with the redundant design ensuring the aircraft can continue to fly even when a single motor fails. At that point, though, you’ll probably have to prioritize finding somewhere to land.
Of course, that’s not a big problem, since this aircraft is capable of taking off and landing vertically, so as long as you can find solid and stable ground, you should be able to bring it down safely. Even tight open spaces can be viable landing spots, too, as it’s pretty compact for an aircraft, measuring in at just 112 x 95 x 41 inches. Once on the ground, it can even get more compact by folding the arms in, allowing it to fit in most garages.
The Jetson One has a control board with a throttle lever on the left, a three-axis flight stick on the right, and pair of foot pedals, with a small display showing all the necessary system information. It’s equipped with triple-redundant flight computers that handle all sensor input, allowing it to perform AI-powered functions like terrain tracking and obstacle avoidance, as well as hands-free hovering and emergency actions. Speaking of emergencies, it has a ballistic parachute that can be deployed rapidly in the event that it’s unable to stay airborne.
According to the outfit, it can fly at an electronically-limited maximum speed of 63 mph, while the onboard lithium-ion battery module keeps it airborne for up to 20 minutes. We know, 20 minutes sound like an awfully short time, but it’s meant to be a recreational aircraft for short joyrides and that sounds like what it delivers.
The Jetson One is available as a partially-assembled kit, so while you’ll have everything you need to take it to the skies, it will actually require some work to put together. That’s probably a good thing, since anyone who pilots a drone-like aircraft should benefit from knowing how all the integral parts work. It’s available for preorder now, with slots open for a 2023 delivery (all 2022 deliveries are sold out), priced at $92,000.