Ever wanted to fly a helicopter, only one that’s smaller, scarier, and looks like something out of a sci-fi film? Russian drone manufacturer Hoversurf may hold the answer. On Thursday, the firm released footage of its Scorpion-3 manned hoverbike, and the results are impressive.
The bike combines a quadcopter with a single motorcycle seat, along with in-house software designed for both manual and automated control. Speed and altitude are limited by the software, while flight controllers allow the pilot to glide through the air with precision. Although Hoversurf’s background is in civil aircraft engineering, the Scorpion-3 was designed to resemble a compact dirt bike.
While initially, the Scorpion-3 looks like a cool extreme sports machine, in the future Hoversurf believes it could form the basis for future transportation machines.
The results look awesome, even if it does look rather terrifying:
One such use for the hoverbike’s underlying technologies could be the company’s drone taxi project. The company would provide hardware, like the drone platform and in-flight computer, as well as the software. The software consists of two parts: the flight control system and the taxi booking system, which uses passengers’ smartphones to manage rides.
While the Scorpion-3 could hold promise for the flying taxi future, Hoversurf has some big competition. Dubai’s road and transportation authority plans to launch its first passenger-carrying self-driving drones by this July. Further into the future, Uber has released a white paper that details a vertical takeoff and landing aircraft service.
Hoversurf expects its first commercial drone taxi operation to launch in 2018. At that point, the vehicle will likely look rather different to the Scorpion-3 on display, as it’s unlikely people will want to fly around exposed to four spinning blades on all corners of their seat.
Watch the Scorpion-3 in action here: