BlackFly 'flying car' lets you take to the skies without a pilot's license


A Californian company has unveiled a prototype 'flying car' that can whisk you into the air for short jaunts, even if you don't have a pilot's license.

BlackFly, which is currently being tested in Canada, is the work of Californian company Opener, which specializes in unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). Although widely described as a 'car', BlackFly has no wheels, making more like a cargo drone with a human payload.

The craft can fly autonomously, or under control of an operator. “You have total command of three-dimensional space,” Opener's CEO Marcus Leng told CBS News.

“When you press the thumb-stick to climb, you have absolute full control. When you stop in the middle of the air and go off the joystick, the aircraft freezes."

Although BlackFly's controls are simple enough to use without a license, pilots will still need to undergo training to familiarize themselves with its handling.

Impossible to inevitable

Over a dozen companies are hoping to have their vehicles cruising the skies by 2020. Some concepts, like the Pop.Up, are essentially small electric cars that moonlight as mini planes, while others like the propeller-festooned Volocopter, have more in common with regular light aircraft.

Leng wants to get ahead of the game, and hopes BlackFly will be available to buy next year for roughly the price of an SUV. That sounds very ambitious, but Opener has some serious support, including Alan Eustace, former vice president of knowledge at Google, who sits on the startup's board of directors.

"I've noticed in my career that things go from impossible to inevitable in a very short period of time," Eustace said.

Cat Ellis

Cat is the editor of TechRadar's sister site Advnture. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better)