Flying cars belong more in a Jetson’s episode than in real life, right? Wrong, flying cars are here, but will they take off? The Indigenous People’s Technology and Education Center (I-TEC), an organization in Ecuador started by missionary Steven Saint, has invented The Maverick, a lightweight flying vehicle equipped with a propeller at the back and a deployable parachute. The Maverick was developed specifically for missionary purposes and humanitarian applications such as transporting medics and teachers to remote areas.
“The Maverick was designed for simplicity, to be able to be a vehicle that could be driven around on a regular basis, but then flown as needed,” says Jim Tingler, development and relations officer for I-TEC. A full gas tank will allow The Maverick to fly for about three hours – about 190 kilometers range – or drive about 640 kilometers. It can fly up to 4,000 meters in altitude. It needs 45-90 meters for takeoff and its parachute is robust, made of rip-stop nylon that can be replaced cheaply if it gets damaged.
The Maverick is available to buy now for $92,000 plus shipping costs. Several have already been sold. But humanitarian agencies remain skeptical. “Lots of high-tech products come at a high cost without a clear plan of how they can pay back and be good value for money for the sector,” warns Louise Bloom, a researcher at the Humanitarian Innovation Project at the Refugee Studies Center, University of Oxford.
Via Sci Dev Net