At the Paris Airshow this week a UK company, Malloy Aeronautics and Maryland-based defense firm SURVICE Engineering announced that they have signed a deal with the U.S. Army Research Laboratory to develop hoverbikes.
Back in August 2014 Malloy Aeronautics raised over $100,000 in a Kickstarter campaign to develop drone technologies that would enable them to create a hoverbike capable of carrying a human being.
They are now working on a second generation version that, according to the company, “is very capable of lifting a person of at least 100kg (220 pounds), however for safety and legal reasons we are testing this vehicle as a drone for the time being.”
The idea of tooling around on a hoverbike is intriguing and sparks dreams of racing across the countryside like Luke Skywalker. I’m not surprised they raised so much money (or that the military is interested in getting their hands on a few of these toys).
I do think, however, that for a hoverbike to be truly useful for military purposes it will have to be able to lift much more than 220 pounds. Equip a soldier with backpack, body armor, weapons, radios and supplies and they will probably tip the scales at well over twice that amount.
You can find out more about the Malloy Aeronautics hoverbike here.