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Watch out, Iron Man: the Daedalus jetpack just navigated a real world obstacle course

By Benjamin Bullard
Daedalus jetpack via official website 2019

Okay, we’re not quite ready to challenge Iron Man and War Machine to an airborne skills showdown just yet — but nothing ventured, nothing gained, right? And as the newest demonstration of the Daedalus Mark 1 jet suit shows, jetpack technology in venturing further than it’s ever gone before. 

Inventor Richard Browning, founder of Gravity Industries and a former reservist with the British Royal Marines, showed off the Mark 1’s newly-refined maneuvers at a military-sanctioned obstacle course demonstration last week. While the manned suit doesn’t yet turn on a dime, it’s clear from the video below that we’ve gotten deep into the proof of concept stage. 

Tweaking the suit’s ability to respond to fine user input is all part of the obstacle course challenge, as is showing off its future promise to members of the British Royal Marines. “Imagine what we could do with these suits on the battlefield — although Royal Marines pride themselves on being stealthy and one thing the jet pack isn’t is quiet,” joked Cpt. Oliver Mason in a Royal Navy blog post

Browning told SYFY WIRE in 2017 that the six-engined suit has long been capable of doing things that push the boundaries of safety, and that tightening its performance is the most time-consuming part of the development process. 

“The truth is, I could hit the accelerator, point my arms down and go to thousands of feet in a few seconds, but I'm not going to do that until we have made the system safe at those heights, which is a matter of time,” he explained. “More testing, development and training makes sense to keep a sensible altitude and speed. The system does have the power and maneuverability to execute flights at hundreds of feet and travel several miles at very high speeds.”

In other words, watch the skies — because it may be only a matter of time before one of Browning’s creations is doing a flyby near you.

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