Hoversurf – a Russian drone company – has unveiled its human carrying single-seat hoverbike designed specifically for “amateur and professional navigators.” In other words, Hoversurf may be finalizing its revolutionary quadcopter aircraft just in time for the Summer 2017 X-Games – just imagine that obstacle course for a second. Yes, flying hoverbikes at this summer’s X-Games may “jumping the gun” a bit, but if the growing rate of passenger drones prototypes is any indication, extreme sports may have a new event sooner versus later. Daredevils should be rolling up their sleeves in anticipation.
Hoversurf’s SCORPION-3 Platform
“The SCORPION platform is the next step in accessible amateur flying developed to inspire athletes, engineers, scientists and inventors around the world.”
Hoversurf’s newest concept is powered by the company’s SCORPION-3 (S-3) platform. Capable of seamlessly integrating with hoverbikes, drone-cars, drone-taxis, and cargo-drones, the S-3 platform is engineered for electric-powered vessels. Currently, Hoversurf’s innovative hoverbike is positioned as an extreme sports vehicle but the application, if developed further, could trickle into the thriving commercial passenger drone market.
Revolutionizing Human Mobility
According to Hoversurf, its Hoverbike prototype was inspired by “heavy-duty sports utility motorbike frames,” and because of its compact size, feels similar to riding a motorcycle – except this motorcycle has no problem taking off into the sky. The S-3 platform allows for automated flight control and with a full suite of safety features, the Hoversurf design team – along with a growing list of drone manufacturers – are on the cusp of revolutionizing human mobility. Whether it’s state-of-the-art flight controls, automated logistical tracking, or computer-aided speed/altitude limitations, safety is guiding every step of their engineering efforts.
“The machine basically surfs through the air by changing altitude and direction.”
Even though it’s being labeled as “an extreme sports instrument,” Hoversurf may be using the X-Games stage as a way of showcasing hoverbike’s impressive technology. With that being said, the company’s SCORPION (S-3) platform is being tested in a full arsenal of flying passenger projects that include: Jetpack by Malloy, Aerofex, EHang, and E-Volo. It certainly appears the S-3 platform application extends to passenger drone vehicles. The only thing holding back commercialized progress: domestic and international regulatory agencies authorizing passenger drone flight.
Whether it’s Airbus’ “Project Vahana”, Uber’s “Elevate” flying car plan, Google’s Zee Aero, Jetpack Aviation’s flying VTOL, the EHang 184, or Hoversurf’s Hoverbike prototype, nothing is getting airborne until FAA regulatory, air traffic, and structural barriers are taken down. From a regulatory standpoint, there is no doubt that the U.S. FAA and the Department of Homeland Security will not permit VTOL’s flying over any major city.
During a recent Wired interview, when asked about certification roadblocks, Ehang’s CFO Shang Hsiao said, “because the 184 AAV represents an entirely new category of technology, there are regulations and agencies that are still catching up. We are in unchartered waters and are working closely with government agencies across the planet to develop and regulate the future of transportation.” Thankfully, drone manufacturers can rely on three non-profit organizations (ASTM International, The Radio Technical Commission for Aeronautics, and GAMA) working to establish precedent around autonomous flying drones and VTOL’s.
EHang 184 Taking Flight in Dubai
With the U.S. Department of Defense working alongside Malloy Aeronautics to develop a vehicle for the U.S. Army and Dubai’s Road and Transportation Authority giving the “thumbs up” to test the EHang 184 prior to the World Expo, there’s hope that precedent will be set at some point this year and all these amazing prototypes will be hovering above us.