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Flying in your own personal drone is one step closer to reality

According to Dronelife’s editor, Miriam McNabb, a Japanese team of aerospace professionals called ‘teTra Aviation’ have won the ‘GoFly’ Final Fly-Off ‘Pratt & Whitney Disruptor Award’ held at Moffett Federal Airfield at NASA’s Ames Research Center with a prize of USD100,000 for designing the best personal flying craft that “can be safely used by anyone, anywhere.”

‘teTra’ spent two years designing the machine. The team, captained by Tasuku Nakai, a doctoral student at the University of Tokyo, won the award for its teTra 3.

With Boeing as its Grand Sponsor and Pratt & Whitney as its Corporate Sponsor, the GoFly Prize has catalyzed the creation of personal flyers as a first step towards transforming the future of transportation with flying cars and motorcycles as well as hoverboards, jetpacks, human-carrying drones and other types of personal flyers. Some 854 teams comprising 3800-plus innovators from 103 countries took up the GoFly challenge and, over the past two years, have been creating their machines and testing them as manned, mannequin-bearing, and unmanned forms of craft.

Prior to the Final, 10 teams were named Phase I winners and each presented with USD20,000 prizes for their concepts, while five teams were nominated Phase II winners and awarded $50,000 for their prototype submissions.

GoFly Founder and CEO, Gwen Lighter, said: “teTra displayed the technical design and creative prowess that we set out to inspire when we created the prize.” And Geoff Hunt, Senior VP of ‘Pratt & Whitney Engineering’, added: “Innovation has always been at the core of our DNA and we’re proud to sponsor such an exceptional competition to recognize the team that challenged the status quo, delivered unique thinking into a complex issue and considered safety, reliability, durability and system integration.”

teTra’s team leader, Tasuku Nakai, commented: “This award is beyond my imagination. Personal flying is the future of transportation and I know there will be a day when every person will be able to take off and land anywhere.”

Footnote: The ultimate grand prize of USD1,000,000 is still in the offing as ‘GoFly’ have stated this award will be presented in “the near future”.

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