Go-karts are cool and all, but, we’re living in an age of gravity jetpacks, flying motorcycles, and ultra-light hovercrafts. Honestly, if it doesn’t have wings or a rocket engine attached it, we’re not that interested. Technically, the FK2 Flying Go-Kart has neither, but our toy garage still desperately needs one.
At first glance, Trek Aerospace’s FK2 (short for FlyKart 2) looks like an oversized drone with a single seat at its center. The pilot is surrounded by ten ducted fans designed to lift and land the vehicle vertically from a dead stop. The multi-fan setup is purposely redundant to ensure maximum safety should any one (or more) fail. A sophisticated auto-pilot system, redundant battery matrix, and a four-point racing-style harness round out the onboard safety features. Once aloft, the FK2 will cruise around 50 miles per hour, with a top speed of 63 mph, for more than 30 minutes.
As the next revolutionary version of Trek Aerospace’s previous generation FK1, the FK2 emerged as the star of this year’s GoFly Challenge. The annual Boeing-sponsored event calls on the world’s best aerospace engineers and innovators to unveil their most ambitious VTOL (vertical take-off and landing) flying machines. From a pool of more than 800 entrants, the FK2 was among five teams each awarded $50,000 in prize money for their developments. Designs from the remaining four teams ranged from a flying bicycle to a self-stabilizing, standing hovercraft to a compact helicopter-like rotorcraft. The handful of finalists will go on to compete for a $1 million grand prize.
The contest is designed to push the limits of personal transportation. This year, in particular, marked a huge step forward. GoFly’s founder and CEO, Gwen Lighter, told Geekwire, “Now we can unequivocally say we will be able to make people fly within the next one to two years.”
The FK2 Flying Go-Kart is only a concept for now. It remains to be seen whether Boeing or Trek Aerospace will move forward with production. We humans have a hard enough time navigating our ground-based transportation in two dimensions, so it’s perhaps best that we hold off on adding a third.
However, if you can’t wait to realize your boyhood dreams of piloting your own flying car, just know that the technology is almost within reach for the average consumer — almost.
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