We’ve heard a bit here and there about Opener, one of the flying vehicle startups backed by Google’s Larry Page. Opener specializes in vertical take off and landing (VTOL) vehicles, similar to helicopters and drones, and the company is counting on the idea that these vehicles will one day be inexpensive enough to be a common form of transportation, according to CNBC.
Alan Eustace, Opener’s technical advisor and former Google exec, talked to CNBC about the challenges facing VTOL companies. The biggest, in his opinion, is regulation. While the company’s first BlackFly vehicles will go on sale next year, they will only be able to fly in the US’s rural areas. It’s going to be awhile, years, before these VTOL aircraft are able to fly in cities, according to experts.
BlackFly is an ultralight aircraft, so it doesn’t require a pilot’s license to operate. According to the company, it can be flown by non-pilots; you can fly it using a simple joystick. The craft will accommodate a person up to 6 feet, 6 inches and 250 lbs.
But unlike many other electric vehicle startups, Opener doesn’t have to worry about funding. The company’s private investment from Page means that the company can focus on innovation, rather than fundraising, “for the foreseeable future.”