Aero-X Hoverbike Is The Ultimate Off-Road Vehicle

The revolutionary Aero-X Hoverbike, “the hovercraft that rides like a motorcycle”, is now available for pre-order ahead of the personal flying machine's commercial launch in 2017. The required $5,000 deposit is a mere pittance of the $85,000 purchase price but then again, you've got at least a couple years to save up the balance.

When Aerofex debuted a prototype “personal hover vehicle” back in 2012 (watch the video here), they learned two things from the experience: (1) people really, REALLY wanted to buy one and (2) the company had a lot of bugs to work out before dealing with step 1.

The most troublesome issue had to do with coupling – a tendency for a hovercraft or helicopter to change its directional heading under the influence of the spinning rotor or rotors.

The company claims to have solved the coupling problem as well as other control and stability issues through the use of several design and engineering modifications so unique they've been patented.

In addition, the hoverbike's guidance systems employ some of the same gyroscopes and accelerometers used in today's smartphone chipsets and radio-controlled quadcopters.

More prosaically, Aero-X studied some of the FAA's regulations concerning airborne vehicles and found that operators are not required to obtain a pilot's license if the vehicle cannot fly higher than 3.7 meters (12.14 feet) above the ground.

That's perfectly fine for anyone riding a so-called “aerial ATV”, and Aerofex will be limiting the production Aero-X to comply with that height.

The end result is a personal gasoline-engined flying machine that weighs around 360 kg (790 lb) and can travel at speeds up to 72 kph (45 mph).

Don't think you'll be driving one to and from the office by 2017, though... that would be illegal (not to mention chaotic) under current laws, according to Aerofex's founder and chief technology officer, Mark De Roche.

Instead, the 4.5 meter (14.8 ft) long Aero-X is aimed at true off-road uses such as search & rescue, border patrol, surveying, disaster relief, farm and ranch monitoring just to name a few. To quote the Aerofex mission statement, “Where you're going, there are no roads. That's why you need the Aero-X.” (via IEEE Spectrum)