This post is also available in: heעברית (Hebrew)

Implant Sciences Corporation, an American company from the explosives-trace-detection business is in the process of purchasing Zapata Industries SAS, a French hoverboard company that has been developing a personal flight system.

The hoverboard invented by Zapata Industries’ is powered by four jet engines. Bob Liscouski, the president of Implant Sciences told Defense News that he envisions immediate military applications such as classic troop movement — infiltration and exfiltration — but the platform could be scaled beyond just a platform that can accommodate a person standing on it.

Medical evacuation is a particularly interesting application, Liscouski argued. “You can imagine creating a litter, a medevac litter, that is autonomously controlled” which can then fly to a hospital or another location for treatment.

He added that the controlling mechanism “is sort of where the secret sauce is. Zapata has created their own algorithms to ensure they’ve got the right balance control and redundancies to safeguard an engine failure”. He added also that: “We are in constant review of technologies, we’ve came across what we think is a non-existent market for something, which is a brand new technology that can really shape a brand new market”.

“The company sees the Flyboard Air as a real, scalable solution that could really provide what people candidly had only seen in movies and looked at from a science-fiction perspective”.

Liscouski acknowledged that not every technology turns out to be a good business idea. “I’m not going to exaggerate our expectations here, we’re taking a very rational and business-like approach toward this”. According to Liscouski, the target is bringing the technology into the company and build the company around it.

Franky Zapata, a  world champion jet-ski racer, came up with the Flyboard in 2012, which jump-started a $200 million hydroflight sports and recreation industry, but in 2016 he took the invention to a new level with Zapata Air, which is lighter, faster, safer and less expensive.

Zapata is “very methodical in his approach so there are redundant systems in there, so you could have one engine fail and you are not going to lose control,” Liscouski said.

Zapata himself has flown the Flyboard, in a demonstration for the French navy, off of a moving patrol boat, flying around in 40 mph wind and landing back on the same platform.

The hoverboard can fly at about 60 mph and flights have covered the distance of a couple of miles, Liscouski said. While Zapata has only flown the hoverboard a couple hundred feet high, there’s no reason it could not go much higher, but if the idea is to fly it at 10,000 feet, supplemental oxygen would need to be added, he said.