Personal aerial electric vehicle in the forest

February 15, 2022

It was always going to be a matter of time before drone technology was adapted by innovative engineers to carry a human in safe and affordable flight. A Swedish company has done exactly that, developing a personal aerial electric vehicle called Jetson ONE powered by eight electric motors that looks a lot like a big drone, but is small enough to transport you through the forest beneath or above the canopy to inspect the progress of silviculture operations, determine compartment stocking, inspect plantation roads or gauge tree health.

Jetson ONE is made from aluminium and carbon fibre materials, weighs just 86 kgs, has a flight time of 20 minutes, a top speed of 100 kmh and can operate up to an altitude of 1 500 feet. It is equipped with terrain tracking and obstacle avoidance capabilities driven by LIDAR sensors and an impressive suite of safety features.

But there is one rider … maximum pilot weight is 95 kgs, so the really big boys who hold up the scrum for the Sharks, Bulls and Stormers et al ain’t going to be flying around in one of these machines any time soon.

While drones (unmanned aerial vehicles or UAVs) are already being used to perform a myriad of functions in forestry, such as spraying, forest monitoring, mapping and fire fighting, is there room in the industry for their big cousins, the personal aerial electric vehicle like Jetson ONE? While it’s a bit soon for management foresters to ditch their bakkies in favour of a PAEV, the time may come when it is common practice.

The Swedish factory manufacturing Jetson ONE has a full order book for 2022, but they are reportedly taking orders for delivery in 2023. All you need to place your order is to come up with the required deposit of $22 000.

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