Julian Spector is a former editorial fellow at CityLab, where he covers climate change, energy, and clean tech.
The perfect holiday gift for the city that has everything.
On a visit to Dubai, after hitting a beach on the giant palm tree-shaped island or carving some powder in the shopping-mall ski slope, you’ll probably want to see the Burj Khalifa. From the courtyard at the base of the world’s tallest building, you have to crane your neck so far back you might fall into the pool of dancing fountains. And if you’re prone to anxious thoughts, you might wonder: How would I get down if I’m stuck up there during a fire?
Fear not, because Dubai has an answer for you, and it’s jetpacks. The shiny emirate’s Directorate of Civil Defense purchased 20 jetpacks last week from New Zealand-based Martin Aircraft Company. For one city, at least, this vision of the future will soon become the emergency response vehicle of today.
Martin Aircraft likens their product to a nimble mini-helicopter: it uses a pair of rotors to take off and land vertically but can maneuver into tight airspace, like narrow cracks between buildings. The flying machines can carry nearly 265 total pounds, meaning that a pilot can also bring supplies up to the top of a building. And they come with a ballistically launched parachute for fast deployment—just in case the V4 engine fails.
So the city that has everything will now also claim the first municipal jetpack-assisted search-and-rescue team. And if jetpack technology has matured enough to safeguard a 2,700-foot, 160-story spire like the Burj Khalifa, then the captains of industry populating New York’s super skinny skyscrapers have something to add to their Christmas lists.
H/t Arch Daily