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Ryerson Helium reimagines the future of travel

The design team’s personal aerial vehicle aims to make person flights accessible to everyone.
August 27, 2020
Ryerson Helium's personal flying vehicle prototype.

Earlier this year, student design team Ryerson Helium, external link, opens in new window travelled to California to showcase their prototype of a personal flying vehicle during the third stage of the GoFly, external link, opens in new window competition. While the competition started with 855 teams, Ryerson was one of only 24 groups to showcase their vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) vehicles and one of the few university groups.

Business lead Lior Saprikin said that the success of the project is due to teamwork from students in all streams of engineering and even other faculties. More than a year of hard work has gone into research, product design, prototype building and marketing for the vehicle—giving members first-hand experience in aerospace design. The result of the interdisciplinary collaboration is a vehicle that could achieve safety, comfort and function while making the biggest impact possible on society.  

Minushi Oza, a third-year computer engineering student and member of the Helium user experience team, said that the team’s goal is to create a vehicle that is accessible to the everyday person. Potential uses include rural emergency response, cargo and urban travel. She said the simple operating system and touchscreen console was something that made Helium’s design stand out from their competitors and that it will continue to be refined based on feedback from community members and industry professionals.  

None of the GoFly competitors were able to take off at the February event, so the $1 million grand prize is still up for grabs and a fourth round of competition will be announced. Saprikin said that the team intends to keep refining their prototype at Ryerson with the goal of providing hands-on experience for students and making their mark on the future of travel. 

Members of Ryerson's Helium design team standing in front of their prototype of a personal flying vehicle.