Hover Bike Reality
These ground-breaking intuitive controls could indeed allow for future flying doctor scenarios everywhere, enabling access to remote locations, meaning that border patrol officers, too, could go about their duties without pilot training
Hover Bike Reality
A design abandoned in the 1960s - because of stability and rollover problems -has been resurrected in the form of a hover vehicle. Noy unlike the iconic Star Wars speeder bikes these amazing craft could someday be flown by anyone without pilot training of any kind
This astonishing aerial vehicle has a pair of ducted rotors - instead of wheels - originating at California-based Aerofex - who solved fixed that stability issue with the creation of (controlled by two control bars at knee-level ) a mechanical system that allows the human pilot's leaning movements and natural sense of balance to control the responsive vehicle, effectively lowering the threshold of flight.
These ground-breaking intuitive controls could indeed allow for future flying doctor scenarios everywhere, enabling access to remote locations, meaning that border patrol officers, too, could go about their duties without pilot training. This is because everything with this vehicle happens mechanically. No electronics or artificial intelligence is required, because the hover-bike captures the translations in three axes - pitch, roll and yaw - activating aerodynamic controls to respond accordingly.
As balancing movements by human pilots are both continuous and instinctive, the whole thing plays out quite effortlessly for the driver, though Aerofex are not planning to develop and sell a manned version at once, instead opting to use the aerial vehicle as a test platform for new unmanned drones.
These could function as heavy-lift robotic workhorses in agricultural or search-and-rescue team scenarios, especially where terrain is rough, and even military applications, like use such hover-drones to deliver heavy supplies in tight spaces - similar to the robotic helicopter drones already used in Afghanistan by U.S. Marines.
Though less efficient than helicopters, which have larger diameter rotors, these hover-bikes have demonstrated flight within trees, close to walls and under bridges, showing off unique performance advantages. Aerofex has, for safety reasons limited human flight testing 15 ft high at no more than 30 mph, though much more height and far greater speed would be normal.
At the January 2012 Future Vertical Lift Conference, evidence of California's Mojave Desert flight testing led to Aerofex revealing plans to fly, in October, a second, more advanced version of the hover-bike, and to have the unmanned drone version ready for flight testing by the end of 2013, after which many of us could have a much more aerial future. I for one can hardly wait.