As we wait for Uber and others to build autonomous flying cars to help skip city traffic, one eccentric engineer has made an Iron Man-style jet suit capable of flying over 30 mph.
Richard Browning, founder and chief test pilot of British tech company Gravity Industries, set a new Guinness World Record this week for flying his 'body-controlled' jet engine suit at 32.02 mph across a man-made lake.
The suit, inspired by that of Tony Stark in the Iron Man movies, uses six kerosene-fueled gas turbines, each generating almost 50 lbs of thrust. Browning then moves his arms to angle the thrust downwards to lift up and backwards to move forward.
Browning keeps his balance with core strength alone, making the suit somewhat impractical for those looking to beat the rush-hour traffic in comfort. For that, you'll have to wait for Uber Elevate, which hopes to get off the ground in Los Angeles in 2020.
As a demonstration of how tricky the suit is to fly, Browning fell into the lake after misjudging a turn at the end of his third attempt to set the new record.
Flying with the suit is "a pleasure and a joy," Browning said after emerging from the lake as a record-holder. Specifically, the record set was for the highest speed achieved over 100 meters in a body-controlled jet engine powered suit.
"I think we're just at the beginning of this technology journey," Browning adds. "The next big frontier is adding wings to the suit. That will allow us, in theory, to be able to fly further, faster and higher, as well as using a lot less fuel, so we hope to go a lot further...We're delighted to have set the record, but I have no doubt that this is just the beginning".