GoFly, a Boeing-sponsored competition announced today, wants to turn jetpacks from an aviation novelty to an everyday tool. To do that, it’s inviting people from around the world to enter a two-year contest, with $2 million total in prizes, for the creation of a personal flying device that can carry an individual 20 miles without refueling or recharging.
The goal of the GoFly Prize is to foster the development of safe, quiet, ultra-compact, near-VTOL personal flying devices capable of flying twenty miles while carrying a single person.
What we are seeking is an “everyone” personal flying device, capable of being flown by ANYONE, ANYWHERE. It should be a device for ALL: young and old, city-dweller and country-dweller, expert and novice.
Now is the time. Recent advances in propulsion, energy, light-weight materials, and control and stability systems have combined to produce a moment of achievable innovation. What can be accomplished today could not have been attained even a few years ago. Technological and scientific advances have resulted in a time when our most audacious dream—the dream of pure human flight—is now achievable.
GoFly is about flying people, not flying taxis. Today we look to the sky and say “that plane is flying.” We challenge you to create a device where we look to the sky and say, “that person is flying.” The device is for a single person, but what it looks like or how it works is up to you. We welcome revolutionary design, and while all devices must be able to fly a person, you have the option to use a mannequin to simulate the user and can operate the device as a remotely piloted or autonomous UAV. The device should function safely in both crowded cities and rural areas; it should be lightweight and maneuverable enough so that anyone can move it around, and it should be quiet not only for the user, but also for the general public. We are propulsion agnostic, but like all great inventions, the device should be user-friendly–almost an extension of the user’s body, and provide the thrill of flight.
The GoFly Prize is designed to capture our imagination. Indeed, throughout human history, perhaps no dream has been more shared than that of soaring in the skies. It has been pursued by the greatest minds from every corner of the world. It captivated the thoughts of Leonardo Da Vinci, culminating in his ornithopter. It consumed the thoughts of Wendell Moore and his Bell Labs team, resulting in the first “jet pack.” It charmed an entire generation of children as they followed the chronicles of Superman.
Our goal is the same as Da Vinci’s and children of wonder throughout the ages: Make people fly – safely and effortlessly.
Ready… set… GoFly.
GoFly Prize Purse
The GoFly Prize Competition will award $2,000,000 in prizes over three phases, culminating in a Final Fly Off in the Autumn of 2019.
Prizes will be awarded for each phase of the Competition as follows:
Up to ten $20,000 prizes awarded based on a written report.
Up to four $50,000 prizes awarded based on revised Phase I material (or for new teams new Phase I material) and demonstrated performance of progress to date.
One $1,000,000 Grand Prize awarded for the best overall fly-off score.
One $250,000 prize for the quietest compliant entry.
One $250,000 prize for the smallest compliant entry.
One $100,000 prize awarded for disruptive advancement of the state of the art.
INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS
Teams will keep all of their intellectual property, except that teams will grant limited media rights to GoFly so that GoFly can publicize and promote the Competition and the teams. The details of this media rights agreement are in the Phase I Competition Agreement. Other than these media rights, any rights a team has in its inventions, drawings, patents, designs, copyrights and other intellectual property remain with the team.
The information that Teams provide to GoFly as part of the Competition will only be shared with the Judging Panel and representatives of GoFly who are involved in administering the Competition. Anyone who has access to a team’s confidential information will have signed a confidentiality agreement and agreed not to share or use such confidential information, except as may be required by law. In addition, teams will not have access to any nonpublic information about other Teams or their technology or performance during the Competition.
Even the best and brightest minds can use a little help sometimes. GoFly empowers innovator teams by providing access to experienced Mentors and Masters in design, engineering, finance, law, and marketing. In fact, every month (and sometimes twice a month), Teams will have the opportunity to listen to and engage in discussions with the Masters of Aerospace and Business in global webinars. Have a couple of questions on conceptual design or configuration management? Looking for insight into cutting edge noise mitigation techniques? Trying to raise funding to support your build? Masters lectures speak to those disciplines and more. Learn from DARPA chiefs, NASA gurus, Boeing Senior Technical Fellows, and the luminaries who actually wrote the textbooks. Hear about the aerospace fundraising landscape, and take a deep dive into financing decks and pitching VCs. Learn how to protect your intellectual property from patent specialists. A list of Masters along with their bios can be found in the Advisors section.
When one-on-one help is needed, all Teams will have access to our Mentor program, where Teams work directly with Mentors in their specific areas of need. Operationally, the Mentor program is organized so that Teams contact GoFly to request a Mentor within a particular discipline. Upon contact, that Team will be matched with a Mentor (or multiple mentors) in that area. During these Mentor sessions, a Team works directly with the Mentor to answer the Team’s specific questions related to their technical build (or financing, or corporate documents, etc.). This is one-on-one support for the Teams, geared to the precise needs of each Team. GoFly believes that providing this type of support is the best way to help aspiring inventors all over the world create the kind of ground-breaking devices that the Competition seeks.
A list of important dates is set forth below:
Description Date Competition Launch and Open of Registration September 26, 2017 Phase I Registration deadline April 4, 2018 Phase I submission deadline April 18, 2018 Phase I awards issued May 29, 2018 Phase II registration deadline December 8, 2018 Phase II submission deadline February 6, 2019 Phase II awards and Phase III fly-off invitation issued March 28, 2019 Phase III - Flight readiness review September 2019 [TBD] Final Fly-off October 2019 [TBD]
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
Known for identifying cutting edge technologies, he is currently a Co-Founder of a startup and fundraiser for high potential early-stage companies. He is the Head of Research for Allocations for deep technology investments and an Angel Investor at Space Angels.
A frequent speaker at corporations, he has been a TEDx speaker, a Singularity University speaker and guest at numerous interviews for radio and podcasts. He is open to public speaking and advising engagements.