The lack of hovercrafts in this day and age is often lamented in the tech community. But now Aeroflex, a high-tech company based in California, is testing an aerial vehicle that uses two ducted rotors to hover above the ground. Mark De Roche, founder of Aeroflex, describes the vehicle by saying, “Think of it as lowering the threshold of flight, down to the domain of ATV’s.”
A couple of decades ago, the design for this “hover bike” ran into trouble because of stability issues. Aeroflex may have fixed that with a mechanical system that lets the vehicle react to leaning movements from the driver to correct balance. Currently the prototype bike flies 15 feet above the ground at speeds up to 30 mph, but it could go faster. Innovation News Daily points out that the slower speeds could be attributed to caution rather than technical limitation.
Unlike Luke Skywalker’s personal hover bike, this won’t be for individual use. Instead, the working prototype is being tested for possible implementation in heavy-duty drones. These drones could be used for heavy lifting and transport in agriculture and search-and-rescue missions. If built for individual use, the craft could be used for transportation to remote areas with rough terrain or a lack of roads. Until then, start practicing your balance now in preparation for the hover bike driver’s license test in about 15 or so years. Via Hover Vehicle Being Tested For All-Terrain Use