The technology that once seemed like little more than a futuristic sci-fi wet dream has become a reality, and for citizens of Dubai, it may just save lives.
On Nov 9, 2015, the Dubai Civil Defense (DCD) signed a Memorandum of Understanding with New Zealand-based tech company Martin Aircraft that confirmed the future delivery of 20 jetpacks and their associated simulators and spare parts.
The DCD will then distribute the packs among specialized Civil Defense and Fire Service personnel for use in emergency response scenarios.
“Dubai is one of the fastest growing future cities in the world,” Lt Col Ali Hassan Almutawa stated at the signing ceremony. “With its modern skyscrapers and vast infrastructure it has always been a world leader in adapting new technology to improve and save people’s lives. The introduction of Martin Jetpacks into our fleet of emergency response vehicles is [but another example of that].”
As home to Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building, Dubai sets an ideal stage for showcasing the Martin jetpack’s impressive specs, such as its ability to fly up to 3,000 feet high. The packs can also take off and land vertically, and backed by a two-liter V4 engine and 200 horsepower, reach speeds of 45 mph.
Firefighters equipped with the jetpacks will behave more as first responders than flame-fighters, capable of soaring to the tallest stories of the city’s many high-rises to locate trapped victims and to deliver urgent medical supplies. The packs will also enable the pilots to maneuver within confined spaces between trees and buildings where they would otherwise not be able to reach.
But the future comes at a cost. With each pack boasting a price tag that ranges between $150,000 and $200,000, the production schedule has already encountered a few delays.
Luckily, for a city steeped in oil wealth, these costs don’t seem to pose much of an issue. Dubai’s police force is already home to a fleet of super-cars, including a $1.8 million Aston Martin One-77 and a $1.7 million Bugatti Veyron. In 2014, city also considered employing a Lotus Evora and several Ford Mustangs to deliver paramedics to emergency scenes at top speeds.
If all goes according to plan, the Martin jetpacks could hit the market by 2016.