Saturday, May 18, 2024

Japanese startup launches world’s first practical hoverbike in Japan

A.L.I. Technologies, a Japan-based startup backed by electronics giant Mitsubishi and footballer Keisuke Honda, has unveiled its hoverbike, which it envisions as the future mode of transportation. The slick-looking “Xturismo Limited Edition” hoverbike is now up for order, with deliveries expected to follow in the first half of 2022.

The startup recently demonstrated the vehicle on a Tokyo racing track near Mount Fuji and showed off its aerial moves. The company says this model is based on the desire to bring new sensations and experiences to mankind, a high-performance machine that runs through the sky.

The hoverbike consists of a motorcycle-like body that appears to be built using carbon fiber and sits atop huge caged props at the front and rear, while each corner also houses a small closed prop. The machine rests on landing skids when stationary. The vehicle is equipped with a conventional engine and four battery-powered motors and can fly for 40 minutes at up to 100km/h (62mph) on a single charge.

The hoverbike consists of a motorcycle-like body on top of propellers.
The hoverbike consists of a motorcycle-like body on top of propellers. Credit: A.L.I. Technologies

The XTurismo Limited Edition is quite compact, measuring 3.7 meters in length, 2.4 in width, and 1.5 in height. The weight of the aerobike is 300 kg, which allows it to lift off the ground without problems. The vehicle only has one seat and can support a rider weight up to 100 kg (220 lb).

The regulations in Japan prohibit such vehicles from flying over public roads, so its applications will be limited to the kind of track used for the demo flight in the foreseeable future. But developers hope that rescue teams can benefit from the hoverbike to quickly reach inaccessible areas.

The company aims to have manufactured just 200 single-rider hoverbikes, each priced at 77.7 million yen (about $680,000). We dreamed of flying cars in the past; well, we already have flying motorcycles, at least in Japan.