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Defense Contractor Offering $2 Million Prize for a Jetpack that Actually Works

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Boeing is partnering with GoFly, a new organization, to offer a $2 million prize to teams who are able to impress the judges with a working “personal flying device.” Participants will have two years to develop their projects before a “final fly-off,” the winner of which will receive the money and substantial bragging rights within the tech community.

As reported by Engadget, Boeing and various other recognizable names in the aviation industry, as well as DARPA, will provide guidance and technical expertise to the teams throughout the content.

The challenge is relatively straightforward. The “personal flying device,” which could be a jetpack, single-seat flying taxi, or anything else that meets that requirement, must be able to fly someone a minimum of 20 miles without the need to refuel or recharge. It must also support vertical, or nearly vertical, take-offs and landings.

GoFly is also looking for user-friendly designs that “of course, provide the thrill of flight.”

Each team will receive additional technical guidelines to which they must adhere with the goal being that participants are able to craft an incredibly compact, “urban-compatible,” and quiet “personal flying device.”

The $2 million bounty will be awarded in three phases. First, the ten teams with the most promising written concepts will be given a prize in the amount of $20,000. Then, four teams will receive $50,000 for the most successful prototypes and revised technical specification. Finally, the winner of the “final fly-off” will be awarded a $1 million prize.

Over the course of the contest, teams may qualify for a variety of supplemental prizes as well. A team with a “disruptive advancement” could receive $100,000 while those that present the quietest model and smallest device may receive $250,000 each.

GoFly states on their website, “We challenge innovators around the world to create a device that makes us look to the sky and say, ‘That person is flying.’”

The organization also confirms that “teams will keep all of their intellectual property, except that teams will grant limited media rights to GoFly so that GoFly can publicize and promote the Competition and the Teams.”

Teams interested in participating have until April 4, 2018, to register on the GoFly Prize site for Phase I. Once that segment is complete, teams are required to register by December 8, 2018, for Phase II.

It is confirmed that the “final fly-off” will take place in the fall of 2019, according to the GoFly site.