A tiny California research group, real speeder bikes are no longer just a dream in a galaxy far, far away.
Created by Aerofex, the rotocraft uses helicopter dynamics to lift and propel this motorcycle-sized vehicle across rough terrain. The vehicle‘s first test flight occurred back in 2008, but ultimately ended in flames. But after years of improvements and field-testing, the vehicle has finally achieved driving stability with the ability to execute sharp turns and hover in place. The latest iteration of the vehicle can fly up to 15 feet in the air and reach speeds of 30 miles per hour.
The aerial vehicle resembles a science fiction flying bike with two ducted rotors instead of wheels, but originates from a design abandoned in the 1960s because of stability and rollover problems. Aerofex, a California-based firm, fixed the stability issue by creating a mechanical system — controlled by two control bars at knee-level — that allows the vehicle to respond to a human pilot‘s leaning movements and natural sense of balance.
Such intuitive controls could allow physicians to fly future versions of the vehicle to visit rural patients in places without roads, or enable border patrol officers to go about their duties without pilot training. All of it happens mechanically without the need for electronics, let alone complicated artificial intelligence or flight software.
http://technabob.com/blog/2011/06/10/real-hoverbike-flying-bike/(10 July 2011)
http://technabob.com/blog/2012/08/22/aerofex-hover-bike/ (22 August 2012)
http://www.dvice.com/archives/2012/08/star-wars-hover.php (21 August 2012)