The Future is Here: The Electric Hover-Bike!

flyingbikeInventors Chris Malloy and Mark DeRoche turned quite a few heads back in 2012 when they displayed their hoverbike prototypes to the world. But, you know how it is with cool, new ideas. Its only a matter of time before  it catches on and others are coming up with their own versions of it. And that’s exactly what happened at Prague convention center this week, where a design firm unveiled their own concept of the hoverbike.

The design firms goes by the name of Design Your Dreams Flying Bike, an amalgamation of three Czech engineering firms who joined together to fulfill a shared childhood dream. Last June, the firm shared their design specs for the electric bike which would be capable of vertical takeoff and hover-flight. And less than a year later, their efforts have resulted in something functional, and very, very cool!

flyingbike_conceptGranted, the prototype isn’t quite as sleek and sophisticated as the original drawings themselves. But the project is still in the early phases, and already it has shown that the concept works. Using six horizontally mounted propellers, the 220-pound electric bike was able to lift itself into the air while an engineer on the ground controlled it with a handheld remote.

According to Milan Duchek of Design Your Dreams, the prototype will fly remotely with a dummy on the seat for now, but a version that can be piloted by a human will be ready this fall. In addition, the design team said that the final product should be as easy to maneuver as a regular bicycle, but will also have the ability to fly for between three and five minutes, using solely electric power. It will include “foolproof” stability control for takeoff and landing, and a fly-by-wire system that isn’t susceptible to outside interference.

speeder_bike1 Though the prototype bike looks like a homemade version of something out of Star Wars, the designers told the press that their inspiration came from two Czech works of science fiction: a series of books by Jaroslav Foglar about a boy with a flying bicycle, and a 1966 Karel Zeman film based on a Jules Verne novel.

Bad news though: even when the flying bike is complete, it won’t be available for commercial use. According to the engineers who built it, the purpose of the project was to bring a flying bike to fruition to see if the technology would work. Or as DYD engineer Ales Kobylik said:

Our main motivation in working on the project was neither profit nor commercial interest, but the fulfillment of our boyish dreams.

Hard to argue with that kind of logic. But for those who absolutely must own one, early indications put the cost of the prototype in the low five-figures – say, anywhere from $10,000 to $30,000. Make the team an offer, we’ll see what they have to say 😉 In the meantime, check out this video of the hoverbike performing a demonstration in Prague:


Sources:
wired.com, (2)

 

The Future is Here: Hoverbike for Sale!

Boy, I’m behind the times here! But that’s what you get when you go away for two weeks and don’t keep up with the latest in trade and tech news. According to Next Big Future, a prototype hoverbike is now available for purchase. Apparently, inventor Chris Malloy, who built the prototype last June, is now offering to custom build one for anyone willing to cough up $84,500 US (or $80,000 Australian).

Powered by ducted fans, mounted at the front and rear, the bike is like something out of Star Wars, except that the science is perfectly sound ;). So far, Malloy has conducted tests with the bike tethered to the ground, which demonstrates that it is capable of hovering just fine. However, he is still working out the kinks when it comes to riding freely.

This is especially true when it comes to turning and rolling, which any biker will tell you is when stability counts for everything. Initially, Malloy was hoping to let the driver turn the vehicle simply by leaning this way and that. However, he soon abandoned that idea in favor of a computerized control system that would ensure stability. This, he has yet to finish, but he’s hopeful that with the right investment capital, he can make it work.

According to his own website, he is eliciting donations to fund the development of his project through to completion. His requested total is 1.1 million dollars to bring the project to fruition and begin commercial production. When he reaches that goal, he will be giving the prototype away for free. Pretty cool of him huh? I recommend people get their names in now and pledge a few dollars. That prototype is not going to be around for long!

In the meantime, check out this video posted by Malloy himself, where he tests the scale model of the bike to show how the fans work.