Have you ever wished you had a bike that can hover over the ground and whiz past brushes and trees just like how Luke Skywalker did in the iconic scene from Star Wars where he was battling the Stormtroopers? From the looks of it, that wish could become a reality; although there is a highly unlikely chance that there would be Stormtroopers on your tail trying to blow your head off. As per a report by Yahoo!, Aerofex, a California-based firm has recently given users a glimpse into the future and showed off what the future mode of transportation would be – hover bikes!
The report states, “The aerial vehicle resembles a science fiction flying bike with two ducted rotors instead of wheels, but originates from a design abandoned in the 1960s because of stability and rollover problems. Aerofex, a California-based firm, fixed the stability issue by creating a mechanical system — controlled by two control bars at knee-level — that allows the vehicle to respond to a human pilot's leaning movements and natural sense of balance.”
A bike that flies
Speaking on this future mode of transportation, Mark De Roche, an aerospace engineer and founder of Aerofex has shared his impression of the hover bike and states,”Think of it as lowering the threshold of flight, down to the domain of ATV's (all-terrain vehicles). It essentially captures the translations between the two in three axis (pitch, roll and yaw), and activates the aerodynamic controls required to counter the movement — which lines the vehicle back up with the pilot. Since [the pilot's] balancing movements are instinctive and constant, it plays out quite effortlessly to him.”
This flying bike has not been designed to be a complicated vehicle to operate but instead for lay people without pilot licenses. The report claims that this vehicle when it goes public will be ideal for physicians to fly later versions of the vehicle to rural areas in order to reach patients located in places which do not have roads that lead to where they are. They state that all of the operations of the vehicle happen mechanically without the need of any electronics or artificial intelligence.
Commenting on how the maneuverability of the vehicle is, De Roche says, “They are less efficient than a helicopter, which has the benefit of larger diameter rotors. They do have unique performance advantages, though, as they have demonstrated flight within trees, close to walls and under bridges.”
As of now, the manufacturer is limiting the attainable height to 15 feet and speed to approximately 30mph. This is more of a precautionary measure than any technological limitations. De Roche stated that older versions of the hover bike could travel as fast as helicopters.
The report ends by stating, “Flight testing in California's Mojave Desert led to the presentation of a technical paper regarding Aerofex's achievements at the Future Vertical Lift Conference in January 2012. The company plans to fly a second version of its vehicle in October, and also prepare an unmanned drone version for flight testing by the end of 2013.”