Watfly aims to produce flying cars for the masses
The startup's team boasts of ex-Tesla employees as well as a Formula 1 team crew member
The first nine months of 2020 has been a disastrous downhill. However, the tenth month shows promise. A promise to pick up some pace. A promise to fly high. A promise of Watfly.
If you are thinking of Watfly as another multi-million dollar startup which would cater to the very people who funded them, let me stop you right there. A Canadian startup at heart, it aims to bring flying cars to the market, for the market but not by the market. Because this is a startup, not a democracy. But the very idea of democratisation is certainly there.
The broader vision of the company involves providing flying cars to the masses. Not only does this ease traffic congestion, but it also speeds up the entire aspect of transportation. Additionally, one wouldn’t see Ms Thunberg protesting outside Watfly’s HQ as the firm’s offerings would exude zero carbon emissions. It manages to do so by deploying the most trending propulsion system to power its ‘flying car’ - electric motors and batteries.
Are you sure that’s a flying car?
Yes, I saw the pictures and in no way does that look like a car to me. However, Watfly never meant to translate the term ‘flying car’ to its literal form. Instead, it focussed on what the term ‘car’ denotes in the modern era - easy to pilot and affordability with added convenience. And going by the prototype renders, Watfly certainly attains the majority of those characteristics at its first attempt.
First attempt? They have one ready? What its called?
Its called the Atlas which is befitting and its aimed to be a single-seater luxury aircraft. The company deploys vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) technology to reduce the aerial vehicle’s dependency on runways. A lot like a helicopter then, except this has four rotors instead of the chopper’s two.
But you said it attains a majority of those characteristics. How?
The Atlas will further deploy Autonomous Flight (AF), developed in-house, to manage the critical aspects of take-off and landing. The technology will also be capable of flying the craft, substituting the need for a pilot altogether. The VTOL technology should serve as the perfect example of added convenience, which leaves ‘affordability’ as one factor which remains yet to be realised.
The firm has been developing the said vehicle for over two years now, and that costs money. Quite a lot when you’re building a revolutionary mode of transportation. Hence, the early stages for Watfly would imply catering to the upper sections of the society. That said, consider the Atlas to be a stepping stone to the visionary mass-produced aircraft as all revenue is said to get reinvested towards R&D. In automotive terms, the co-founder nicely described the Atlas as “our Model N, the model Ford produced prior to the first mass-produced car: the Model T”.
Wait, mass-produced flying vehicle? You mean, mass-produced like cars?
Exactly like cars. This is where Watfly intends to differ from other flying car manufacturers by attempting to produce its small and lightweight aircraft at automotive volumes. Not only does this reduce the manufacturing cost but ultimately, also ends up minimising the retail price of the product.
What about the team? Are they experienced enough?
A five-member team might not seem like the most effective composition to revolutionise aerial transportation. But its the quality and not quantity where the startup excels. To boast a little, all five members are engineers out of which, both co-founders are ex-Tesla employees (which gives you a hint where they got the autonomous driving idea). In contrast, Watfly’s aerodynamics manager has a background of working with the Mercedes Formula 1 team. Yes, the same team which consistently won the best Constructor’s team for six consecutive years in the fastest car race of our planet.
That’s good. You mentioned about a prototype. Is that ready?
I wouldn’t say a definitive yes to that, but the co-founder did mention the first week of October as a tentative date for the prototype to take its first flight. The firm has been quite active on social media (read Instagram) as well, and it has been keeping the audience/potential customer base engaged with its progress.
Sounds promising! Any idea about Watfly’s plan for the long run?
Producing small aircraft for the masses seems to be the larger goal. But the immediate future post the Atlas holds a two-seater aircraft with a more extended range and enhanced autonomous flying technology while being more affordable.
To follow Watfly's progress, you can visit their Instagram page at
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