This is insane. I keep watching this video again and again, and my stupid grin doesn’t go away: a live demonstration of a real flying bike! Now we just need light sabers, golden robots with English accent, and hyperspace engines. Developed by Aerofex in Manhattan Beach, California, the flying bike doesn’t use anti-gravity devices but powerful fans and a special control scheme that allows anyone to drive it without any training whatsoever. And it works great. Heck, it works beautifully. The bike, which was demonstrated in the Mojave Desert, can now go up to 30mph (48 km/h) and go as high as 15 feet (4.5 meters).
Another company tried to do this in the 60s, but they couldn’t solve the stability issues that made it impossible for a human to ride it safely. Since then, others have tried, but nobody has ever reached the point of a fully working flying bike.
Aerospace engineer and Aerofex founder Mark De Roche and his team found the secret sauce to make it all work: a new mechanical control system that, according to him, “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.”
The human pilot just have to lean and balance in a natural way, much like you do while driving a bicycle or a motor bike. It’s all instinctive, says De Roche: “since [the pilot’s] balancing movements are instinctive and constant, it plays out quite effortlessly to him.”
Sadly, it won’t be sold to the public just yet. They want to sell it to the military first, who will be the first ones to have access to the technology. The company thinks that it can be used for heavy lifting in rough terrains, without having to care about wheels or caterpillar tracks. And, unlike helicopters and other flying devices, this one can go in between trees and canyons: “they have unique performance advantages […] as they have demonstrated flight within trees, close to walls and under bridges.”
And while it may seem slow now, this is just the first version. I can’t wait for the one that goes at least at three times the speed. [Aerofex via Innovation News Daily via Rio Norte Line via Blstr]