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What just happened? Flying cars? Yesterday's news. What we want are hoverbikes. If you have a spare $680,000, you could buy one right now from a Japanese drone-making startup backed by one of the country's soccer stars.
The XTurismo Limited Edition comes from Tokyo-based A.L.I Technologies using its wealth of drone-building experience. The bike/jet ski-style body sits on top of a series of propellers, with a pair of skids on the underside for when it's on the ground. We've seen similar designs from flying vehicle companies before, including NEC's quadcopter-style passenger drone.
The conventional engine and four battery-powered motors allow the XTurismo to fly at 100 kph (62 mph). It can stay in the air for around 40 minutes, weighs 300kgs (661 pounds), and can carry 100kgs (220 pounds). Buyers will have to hand over 77.7 million yen ($680,000) and wait until the first half of next year for delivery.
"Until now the choice has been to move on the ground or at scale in the sky. We hope to offer a new method of movement," Chief Executive Daisuke Katano told Reuters.
The 'XTurismo Limited Edition' hoverbike unveiled by Tokyo-based drone startup A.L.I. Technologies is equipped with a conventional engine, four battery-powered motors and promises to fly for 40 minutes at up to 62 mph https://t.co/PzYSbmnkN7 pic.twitter.com/c8SQbC9szG— Reuters (@Reuters) October 26, 2021
The latest video shows the bike hovering a few feet off the ground at a race track near Mount Fuji. Sadly for those with visions of soaring above cities on the XTurismo as traffic grinds to a halt below, its use will only be allowed on similar sites as the demo, at least in the near term—future regulation changes could allow the hoverbike on roads. Katano also envisions it being used by rescue teams to reach areas inaccessible to ground vehicles.
In addition to soccer player Keisuke Honda, A.L.I Technologies is being backed by big industry names, including Mitsubishi Electric and Kyocera.
The most recent flying taxi we saw was Airbus' latest generation of the CityAirbus, one of many eVTOL (electric vertical takeoff and landing) craft being designed for workers who want to cross cities in less time than what traditional transport options can offer.