Jetson made a splash unveiling its drone-like electric flying vehicle before and now the company has raised a $15 million seed round to help launch the Jetson One in 2024.
The vehicle is an electric Vertical Takeoff and Landing (eVTOL) aircraft that will cost $98,000 and won’t require a pilot’s license to fly, said Rikard Steiber, an investor and senior board adviser in an interview with VentureBeat. That’s still expensive, but it’s another example of science fiction — notably from The Jetsons show in the 1960s — coming to life.
“Humanity’s oldest dream has been to fly, and we dreamt about having superpowers and flying out and save the world,” Steiber said. We had the Wright Brothers more than 100 years ago, and Leonard da Vinci and even the myth of Icarus.”
Other investors include rapper Will.i.am, who has ordered the first Jetson One off the assembly line, as well as board member Luca Spada.
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The investment further positions Jetson as a frontrunner in the emerging field of urban air mobility. This kind of vehicle operates under a Class G license in unregulated air space. It is allowed to go no faster than 63 miles per hour and no higher than 1,500 feet off the ground, Steiber said. It has a flying time of about 20 minutes, which means it might be able to fly a range of 21 miles.
Jetson One is categorized in the U.S. as an ultralight aircraft, which can only be flown during daylight in unregulated space. There are various applications, from emergency services to military uses, but the company is focuses on those who want to take the vehicle for short flights. It takes off vertically like a helicopter and lands the same way. It’s one meter wide and so you can fit it in the back of a truck. Other flying cars are more like air taxis and those require pilot’s licenses to fly.
Tomasz Patan and Peter Ternström started Jetson in 2017 with the intention of making everyone a pilot. They scored huge hits on social media, garnering more than 48 million views on YouTube with help from comedian Stephen Colbert.
“I saw the Jetson on YouTube and I thought, ‘Oh my God!’ I contacted them and said take my money!” Steiber said.
He learned the Swedish team needed money and provided an early investment. He also helped hire a new CEO to help them with their mission of building flying cars. OK, it’s not really a flying car, as it doesn’t have wheels when it’s on the ground.
“We are thrilled to welcome such a diverse and visionary group of investors to the Jetson family,” said Stephan D’haene, CEO of Jetson, in a statement. “Their support validates our unique value proposition and underscores the immense potential of urban air mobility. With the Jetson One, we aim to democratize flight and create a profitable business within existing legislative frameworks.”
You control the aircraft with two joysticks. One controls up and down and the other controls left or right movement. The in-flight computer provides safety mechanism, like landing you when you’re out of battery power.
The demand for the Jetson One has been overwhelming, with over 300 units already sold at a price of $98,000 each, requiring an $8,000 down payment to secure a serial number.
The company has about 30 people. Jetson will use the money to get the manufacturing going for the first 300 machines ordered. The team is demoing the first flights today in Texas at the Up Summit.
To support its ambitious goals, Jetson operates a state-of-the-art research and production facility in Arezzo, Tuscany. The facility includes a private airfield south of Florence, housing an industrial complex, an 800-meter airstrip for daily flight testing, a customer experience center, and a pilot school. Looking ahead, Jetson plans to expand its operations into the US market in 2024, with multiple locations under consideration for its future U.S. headquarters. Currently, it’s based in Palo Alto, California.
“I’m proud to be a part of the Jetson family and support the company’s mission to democratize
flight, opening the skies to all. Personal aircraft ideal for short point-to-point flights will soon be a
reality”, said Will.i.am, who is also a tech entrepreneur and consultant to automotive companies.
Will.i.am has designed and manufactured custom cars with futuristic features working with Mercedes-Benz, DeLorean and more.
The Jetson One sets itself apart with a sleek design, featuring a lightweight aluminum space frame and a Carbon-Kevlar composite body inspired by race cars. Equipped with intuitive joystick controls and advanced flight computers, the Jetson One offers a stable and user-friendly flying experience that can be mastered within minutes.
“Jetson is on a mission to re-define the future of air mobility and transportation. We are enabling
new and exciting ways of travel which will solve many problems, ultimately making our cities a
much better place to live. I think the US market is a great opportunity for Jetson”, said
Patan, who will be making the first U.S. test flights in October.
Powered by eight electric motors and high discharge lithium-ion batteries, it boasts a maximum flight time of 20 minutes and a top speed of 63 miles per hour (102 kilometers per hour). The aircraft can comfortably carry a pilot weighing up to 95kg (210 pounds).
“The challenge here is that to be classified as an ultralight aircraft, you need to be ultralight. So you can only weigh just over 200 pounds or 254 pounds,” Steiber said. “The aircraft without battery only weighs 90 pounds. When we put electric batteries on, then it adds 100 pounds.”
Microsoft added the vehicle to Microsoft Flight Simulator 2024, and you can use it to fly under the Golden Gate Bridge with your Jetson One.
Jetson’s mission is to redefine the future of air mobility and transportation, making cities a better place to live through innovative and sustainable travel solutions.