Robotic Jetpack takes to the skies

By | October 22, 2010

Robots have taken our jetpacks that we never got to wear, or at least we have turned these jetpacks into autonomous devices. The Martin Aircraft Company shared a video of its newest jetpack prototype, the Martin Skyhook UAV, which can fly as high as 10,000 feet, and lift 220 pounds. Basically, it’s like a mini helicopter.

It achieves flight with its double turbofan 200-horsepower driven engine, which can reach speeds of up to 63 miles per hour. Unlike the futuristic visions of the device, it uses regular gas, not rocket-power fuel. It does not need a runaway or any special launching place, as it has a vertical takeoff and can launch straight into the sky.

The Skyhook can have many uses, and the military especially will be interested in getting it to help them monitor battlefields or deliver supplies to troops. For those missions you don’t really need a human attached to the jetpack, so the Martin Aircraft team scratched the human element off the list. Which is probably a disappointment to some, but then the risks of operating such an aircraft are too great right now anyway.

One of its weaknesses is that it can only spend a couple of hours in the air, before it would need to refuel its system. This means that it will still need a base close-by, and won’t be able to travel great distances. It is something the Martin team, along with the military, are looking to improve, and future funding promises to enhance its already impressive capabilities even more.

The video is short, but pretty cool, and shows the unmanned jetpack taking off for a solo flight. It sounds as loud as a helicopter too, judging from this sample.