Drones are obviously some of this year’s most anticipated gifts, but what if your next drone could hoist you and your significant other? All eyes will be on Las Vegas for the 2018 CES show, where just such a drone will be on display. SureFly is a personal hybrid octocopter that could be yours in the near future.

“The aircraft is piloted by a joystick in a similar fashion to flying a drone.”

Surefly Octocopter

According to their news release:

SureFly re-invents the helicopter, making it safer, easier to fly and much more affordable than a conventional helicopter. Its redundant design includes four propeller arms, two fixed contra-rotating propellers on each arm, a backup lithium battery pack to drive the electric motors in the event of engine failure. In addition to the redundant design, a ballistic parachute that safely brings down the craft will be included in the final design.

SureFly’s hybrid design leverages Workhorse’s battery pack, management systems, and controls utilized in its currently commercialized range-extended battery electric road vehicles. It features a gas combustion engine generating electricity and a parallel battery pack offering a redundant backup power source, eliminating the need for long battery charging periods between flights. Pilots who have seen the SureFly like the easy-to-pilot design, as the aircraft is piloted by a joystick in a similar fashion to flying a drone. The SureFly is expected to be capable of carrying pilot and passenger or cargo up to 70 miles. After a quick refill, SureFly is ready for the next hop.

Early models will be pilot-operated. Future models will be capable of autonomous flight, with payloads of up to 400 pounds. Anticipated markets for the SureFly are precision agriculture, emergency responders, city commuters and military. The company is working toward full certification of the vehicle in late 2019. The expected price of the SureFly is approximately $200,000, and Workhorse is currently accepting pre-orders for the aircraft at www.workhorse.com.

Start saving your pennies. Personal flight has been promised for years, and the folks at the Workhorse Group may just be bringing it to you first.  They still need to get some approvals, before their first manned flight at CES.

“After productive conversations with the Federal Aviation Administration, we’re excited to be on a path forward to experimental status for the SureFly,” said Stephen Burns, CEO of Workhorse. “The response to SureFly’s public displays has been enthusiastic, and while we have much work ahead of us in our march toward certification, this first test flight represents a significant milestone for the project.”

We’re crossing our fingers for them. Check back after the first of the year for more details.

Also published on Medium.