Future tech doesn't always look the way the '70s might've predicted, but sometimes it does. Case in point: this beautiful, fully functional hoverbike that could've been torn out of our archives. It's going to be a while before you see one zipping down the street, but if the public does get a chance to ride one, the bike is rideable right out of the box--no training required.
Brought to you by aerospace firm Aerofex, the bike runs on a pair of powerful fans. It picks up on instinctive movements people make while riding a bicycle or motorbike, then moves in the same way (except, you know, flying), meaning anyone can have a go at it. For safety reasons, they've tested it at 30 mph and 15 feet high, although earlier versions of it went as fast as a helicopter.
Like all fun toys, the military will probably get this one first. The founders aren't planning to make a manned version immediately, they told Innovation News Daily; instead they're opting to use it as a test platform for creating hover drones.
But until we see it somewhere else, fight back your Star Wars speederbike dreams with this test run video, shot in the Mojave Desert.
Gee, why aren't all vehicles on the road air\fan powered. Could it be rocks and other debris flying all about?!
A person standing by as the vehicle passes:
Eeeek, My eye! My eye!
A vehicle traveling behind or beside another vehicle:
Ding! Ding! Ding! CRACK goes the windshield.
You get the idea.
But as a recreational vehicle and with riders wearing the correct safety gear and the observers a decent amount of distance away, this could be a great ride! ;)
It does look like a lot of fun to ride. Oh what happens if I slip and fall and one of my arms or legs goes into the fan?
Tires kick up foreign objects on city streets and highways. With maintenance up-keep, vehicles like this could eliminate the issues of traveling associated with wheels and tires.
Plus, if you've ever driven on a gravel road, you know speed is a factor of safety. I don't think this would be more danger than having tires. Especially because most roads are not made of gravel.
What do you need a road for? You can go anywhere with this, even over water. It's probably safer to go over a grassy field than down a dirt road.
I like the idea of our soldiers not having to drive over bombs.
Wow earlier versions traveled as fast as helicopters? I'm guessing in the 120mph range? Bad ass! DO WANT!
It would eliminated bombs and mines set off by pressure plates but thats about it. Still, its a step in the right direction. One portion of the threat is countered.
I wonder how efficient this mode of transportation is in terms of energy usage per person per km travelled.
I mean, a Honda Civic gets about 6L/100km (39mpg) on the highway. You usually can fit 4 people in a car. So, it needs something on the order of 15mL per person per km of fuel. That's approximately 510kJ of energy per person per km. I imagine this hoverbike is much less efficient simply because instead of overcoming tire/air friction (bout 300 N?) in a car, you have to continuously overcome gravity (bout 5000 N for 500kg?).
It would not even stop all pressure bombs - so long as this remains within groud effect it would still produce downward pressure - hence the flying rock and dust.
The real reason we don't have roads covered with things like this is the energy requirements. A wheeled vehicle has to overcome intertia, mass, and gravity in the form of friction against the surface of the road.
This vehicle has to counteract gravity constantly, while dealing with inertia as well.
Think of it this way - would you rather carry a heavy load defying gravity by holding it, or transferring gravity by putting it in a wheelbarrow, a handcart, or a tractor?
this actually looks very similar to an idea the army had for a hover vehicle, they decided not to do it because anytime one of the soldiers would get shot instead of falling onto nice soft grass they'd fall into a whirling fan blade of death and dismemberment.
there is no way this will ever be safe, i see a cult gathering within next year, and a license within the decade!
as for the actual vehicle i want to know how long it stays airborn,
to mars or bust!
Selling it to defense contractors is going big! They could cash out several millions of dollars selling it to Boeing, General Dynamics, Ratheon etc. I don't see this thing replacing cars in the near future. As has already been pointed out efficiency is a big key here. Its cool yes, and I want one bad but that doesn't mean I would give up my car for everyday transport to replace it with this. Not even close. A big defense contractor with much deeper pockets, better engineers, better technology and the ears of the DOD can turn this concept into something 20x better. Then in 60+ years it will be widely available to the public in a much better and more efficient package.
wow. i was not expecting to see a video like this till 5 years from now. i bet that big brother would go spend trillions having this run on pure oil lol
"You take the blue pill – the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill – you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes." -Morpheus
What kind of fuel does it use?
Seriously, this ride in the military?! What a simple and easy target and yes there a mines that can nail this sucker. Military wise, I never ride this thing. But hey, if you wish to be a sitting duck, good luck to you.
But with the correct safety helmets and other devices, this might be a great recreational ride. It does need more development. As an demo device, I think it has lots of promise!
Still, I do see lots of other safety issues. Those two big powerful exposed fans in front and rear yikes!
Take care. ;)
I think everyone is looking at this invention thru rose coloured glasses and seeing what they want. The idea is great. This is what I saw. The blade should be screaming at thousands of RPM. but I keep seeing shadows under the vehicle fans just barely turning over. The opening sequence in the video shows slow moving shadows. The best shadows are around the 43 second mark. I think we have been scammed.
@smiling al: You do realize that cameras can only capture so many finite frames per second, and if something is moving very fast it creates unusual visual artifacts because it is not capturing the scene at a fast enough speed to keep up the object in question?
If you have a camera that captures images at a rate of 60 frames per second, and you use it to record a video of a fan that has a blade that rotates at exactly 60 rotations per second... then the fan would look like it was standing still. (Assuming I am thinking up the example correctly)
Point being... I am certain those fans are spinning very very fast to maintain the required lift, but the camera cannot accurately show this in some frames.
Soldiers wont be running around in this version, but rather a version that has been adapted to the particular mission set its intended for. Thats even assuming it gets used as a troop transport. There are lots of things I've done in my 9 years in the military that have left me exposed and a "sitting duck." Sweeping for mines is a great example. The entire time you are exposed to possible sniper fire, indirect fire, enemy air support(in a conventional war), heavy weapons over watch etc. You don't have to be behind several inches of steel to move, sleep or carry out an operation. There are always advantages and drawbacks to every piece of gear and equipment we use. Disadvantage for this vehicle, exposure. Advantages for this vehicle is that it is small and compact, moves fast over various terrain types and can transition from terrain type to terrain type quickly giving it great versatillity. Step back and think big picture just a little and forget the hollywood image people have in regards to military operations.
So what you’re saying in your imagination and the future, there will be a better one. Yea, I agree too, in my imagination and optimistic belief we in the USA will manufacture better vehicles for war. I do not believe this concept is Earth shattering to anyone.
Take care. ;)
That's so awesome. When I was younger I thought of a similar idea using large fans to hover above the ground, but I didn't have the money at the time to purchase the fans. I always thought it would be a fun project to build a hover craft.
Mmmmmm, buzzing along.... zoom.. Ut-o, CRAP! Sink hole! Aaaaaaaaaa! Ka-spat. .. .. hey is there anyone up there?
Now I have two vehicles I need, the walker and now this!!! I don't have that much money, stop making cool stuff before I can buy it!!!! All in all, this will be more a hobbyist vehicle, I see it getting SOME attention, but not too much. Just public opinion, but I could be wrong.
Between two evils, I always pick the one I never tried before.
Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please.
Duh - OH ! are you normally this dense? Number one, this is not a hover craft so it dose not depend on ground effects to keep it airborne! In what part of the video did you see a hovercraft skirt under this machine. Sink hole ??? the only sink hole is in your logic. This is like a mini helicopter. They can hover over a hole or water or sand or snow or anything and it doesn't affect them. OK got that now? Another point you missed was they were keeping the altitude down to 15 feet and 30 mph. That logically means that it can fly higher such as 1 to 1000 feet or higher. FLYING is not ground effects. The only hovercraft that I can think of that Hovers on a air cushion that might reach that height of 15 ft. would be the giant military transport hover craft. Oh and for all you folks worried about falling into the spinning blades. Duh-Oh ! Ever think about a simple large stiff metal or composite screen covering the top of the fan duct with small enough openings that a hand or even small enough that a finger could not pass through, but air would flow through it just fine. They could put a set of bars across the opening on an angle that would deflect the rider from falling into the blades. Again Duh-Oh! You could put the same sort of mesh with slightly larger openings on the bottom of the fan housing and if you dropped onto an obstruction like a tree limb or a pet dog jumped up under it you wouldn't have pet hamburger, and it would not affect the lifting capacity. I liked the comment about maybe having smaller fans on the sides of the machine for stability. I think with a good gyroscopic stability system on board and a simple computer like they use on the harrier jump jets this could be a very stable and viable personal commuter vehicle or recreational vehicle, and it could be made to work as a electric version I would hazard to guess. It could be fitted with emergency deploy parachute for higher level flight and faster speeds, like a an ultra light plane. If the motor fails the chute would auto deploy by being shot out of a tube behind the rider and stop uncontrolled falls. With a crash helmet and a riding harness the rider wouldn't fall off and done right could still stand up while riding.
There are so many light weight safety measures that could be added that wouldn't restrict its flight capability's. A simple roll cage over the top would not restrict flight yet in a crash landing, if the vehicle flipped the cage would keep the rider from being crushed. Like I said easy simple light weight improvements that would make this the perfect commuter vehicle and it could be built to carry two like a motorcycle. A light weight cabin could be put on it to keep the rider out of the weather. With saddle bags just to the rear of the rider you could carry things with you, and they could be soft or hard like on the big touring bikes.. Think about it. We have the technology today to make these viable and safe. And so many possibilities !