NeXt, a Grand Rapids-based advanced air mobility start-up, announced its new autonomous air vehicle (AV), iFly. The vehicle provides customers and individuals with a safe, simple, and environmentally friendly autonomous air traveling option.
The iFly features a single comfortable passenger seating compartment and is powered by batteries that spin the vehicle’s eight propellers. The AV’s agility and stability comes from autonomous safety features and advanced flight control systems on-board. One of the safety features is an automatic ballistic parachute that is activated upon the case of an emergency that requires evacuation.
Continuing to undergo feasibility proof of concept exercises, iFly has been granted a United States patent and is currently looking for a funder for the company. The goal of iFly is to achieve a way for the common individual to be able to accomplish air travel in the most convenient way possible.
The company says many large aerospace companies are pursuing the development of multi-passenger electric air taxis for use by well-heeled clientele, which leaves a massive void in the urban air mobility space by excluding availability for most people.
The mission iFLY embraces is to make safe-electric personal air vehicles a reality for the masses while enhancing the future sustainability of our planet for generations to come.
To operate the iFly, the traveler can control and direct the vehicle through the iFly mobile app. The iFly application can be accessed through an android or apple mobile device where the user can tap on the location they would like to go to. The vehicle will then seamlessly take the pilot autonomously to the selected location.
In the scenario of a dangerous situation like low battery or bad weather, the iFly will also automatically land in a safe location or even fly back to the original location it took off. To make the vehicle even more convenient, NeXt is targeting a powered ultralight designation, allowing any traveler to use it without needing a pilot’s license.
NeXt’s iFly successfully checks off four of the company’s main principles: a passion for invention in the electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) technology space, an obsession with safety, a commitment to operational excellence, and long-term thinking. iFly is just one of several of NeXt’s eVOTL projects that include a status of proof-of-concept. To learn more, visit here.