For the price of a small car, consumers will be able to order a hoverbike in the next two months, with a Japanese company saying its flying bike will be available to mass market by 2022.
The Tokyo-based ALI Technologies mainly builds small drones but wants to develop the bike for emerging economies in Africa, the Middle East and Asia to allow residents to fly over dangerous and poorly constructed roads.
It says it is aiming to build a product to compete with the crowded market of flying cars, and the hoverbike is just the beginning.
“We’ll create a bike first in order to get flying cars widely used in society eventually,” the company’s chief executive Shuhei Komatsu told The Japan Times.
“Our hoverbike is an ensemble of drone technologies.”
Powered by propellers, the bike will hover several centimetres above the ground aided by sensors to avoid hitting obstacles.
“We want to deliver it to customers from around 2022,” said Mr Komatsu who hopes the bike will be usable on Japanese public roads.
The Dubai police force have already begun training on its own flying bike, Hoversurf, which was gifted to the Middle Eastern nation’s law enforcement by a Russian-owned company based in California.
It was the first serial production of the electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) vehicles after a deal was signed in 2017.
The company’s chief operating officer, Joseph Segura-Conn, said the police force could order as many of the $150,000 ($A206,000) hoverbikes as it wanted.
“They’re going to let us know in the next month or two if they’d like any more … If they would like 30 or 40, we’ll make it happen for them,” Mr Segura-Conn said in November.
Unlike the ALI Technologies model, the Hoversurf S3 can zip around as high as four metres off the ground and reach a maximum speed of about 100km/h.
But the futuristic vehicle can only be piloted for as long as 25 minutes, although it can operate for up to 40 minutes if used as a drone.