It's been a long time in the making, but it appears as thought the days of us owning our own jetpacks are just around the corner.
Or, at least that's what the folks at Martin Jetpacks are hoping, who are the makers of "the world's first practical jetpack able to be flown by a pilot or via remote control". They started trading on the stock market yesterday as a result of a large investment from Hong Kong listed KuangChi Science Limited that will let the company move from the world of drawing boards and prototypes to the real deal.
In it's current form, the jetpack can only fly for about 30 minutes, but KuangChi are not just bringing a whole pile of money to the table for Martin, they are also leaders in making materials for air travel, meaning that they can now share their technology to make the jetpack lighter, more aerodynamic, and eventually able to be produced on a commercial scale.
CEO of Martin, Peter Coker, said that "the [jetpacks] that people tend to associate themselves with are the ones from James Bond, but when Glenn Martin invented this, he was looking at the 'Jetsons' equivalent where it's a mode of transport of some utility". With that in mind, the first people that may end up using these new pieces of technology are those for whom it would make a big change to the way they work, such as fire, police, or ambulance services, as well as natural disaster recovery and search and rescue teams who would be able to get a better picture of a developing situation from above with a manned flight, or by using cameras mounted on the jetpacks.
It may yet be a while before we're all riding our jetpacks to work however, as the company is planning on getting the first models out to people by the third quarter of 2016, and will then be producing about 500 per year out of New Zealand. Oh, and it also costs $200,000 (€176,639), but they do say that by 2017 they hope to have a "personal jetpack" on the market for people to buy. Start saving now and you can beat the traffic in two years, we suppose.