It might not be too much longer before hover-bikes are a reality, and we can treat America’s roads like the forest moon of Endor.
Reuters has the story on the recent exhibition of a new hover-bike concept from Malloy Aeronautics that’s earned it a contract with the U.S. Department of Defense to further develop these machines stateside.
Developers Malloy Aeronautics says its Hoverbike prototype is built to do many of the jobs that a helicopter is used for, but without the problems inherent with helicopter design. Malloy have joined forces with U.S. firm SURVICE, 30 year veterans of defense research and development, to develop the vehicle in the U.S. state of Maryland.
As seen in this EuroNews video from 2014, Malloy’s functional prototype seems to function in about the way that we’ve always imagined, and in manned tethered tests has proven to be safe for human pilots.
To fund the scale prototype, Malloy has been selling drones that utilize the same types of technologies that their hover-bikes will. They’re still available if you want to get an early preview of the bike’s capabilities, and they look something like this:
The size of the hover-bike is designed to make it easier for more units to be shipped or stored wherever the military might need them, and the speed and ease of use of these devices could make them valuable assets in search and rescue missions someday. These factors and more made the hover-bike a “no-brainer” for the Department of Defense to pick up the project at the Paris Airshow.
At the Paris Airshow, Stapleton and Mark Butkiewicz from SURVICE were joined by Maryland Lt. Governor Boyd Rutherford to announce the opening of an office in the state’s Harford County, to develop the Hoverbike for the U.S. Army.
Butkiewicz explained the U.S. Defense Department’s interest. “The Department of Defense is interested in Hoverbike technology because it can support multiple roles. It can transport troops over difficult terrain and when it’s not used in that purpose it can also be used to transport logistics, supplies, and it can operate in both a manned and unmanned asset. It can also operate as a surveillance platform,” said Butkiewicz.
He added: “We’ve been working with Malloy Aeronautics to develop a full-scale version of the scale model in front of me and the next step is to do additional testing and then to design and construct prototypes that meet military requirements.”