Boeing offers a $2 million prize for a working jetpack

David Lumb

It's 2017, and as the refrain goes, where are the flying cars? Boeing is more interested in "personal flying devices" -- aka, jetpacks -- and is partnering with new organization GoFly to post a $2 million bounty for working designs. Kind of like an X Prize competition, the partners are giving teams two years to develop their tech before whomever impresses the judges at a "final fly-off" takes home money from the GoFly Prize pool.

Boeing and other big names in aviation (along with DARPA) will lend their mentorship and technical expertise to the teams over the course of the contest. Winning is simple: The jetpack must carry a person 20 miles without refueling or recharging with vertical (or nearly vertical) take-off and landing. Teams will get technical guidelines -- the competition is seeking a solution anyone can use that is ultra-compact, quiet and "urban-compatible" -- but how they design or engineer their "personal flying device" is up to them.

Competition prize money will be doled out in three phases: Ten teams with interesting written concepts will be given $20,000 prizes, then four $50,000 will be handed out for the best prototypes and revised technical specifications, before a winner at the "final fly-off" takes home $1 million. Even if they don't win, teams may qualify for supplementary prizes at the last event, including $100,000 for "disruptive advancement" of state-of-the-art aviation tech, $250,000 for quietest entry and $250,000 for the smallest.

Teams can register for the first phase of competition now on the GoFly Prize site until April 4th, 2018. After that, teams must register for Phase II by December 8th, 2018.

GoFly Prize