Finally, A Real Flying Star Wars Speeder Bike!

This is insane. I keep watching this video again and again, and my stupid grin won't go away: a live demonstration of a real flying bike! Now we just need lightsabres, golden robots with English accents and hyperspace engines.

Developed by Aerofex in Manhattan Beach, California, the flying bike doesn't use anti-gravity devices. Powerful fans and a special control scheme allows anyone to drive it without any training whatsoever. And it works great. Heck, it works beautifully.

The bike, which was demonstrated in the Mojave Desert, can now go at speeds of up to 48km/h and go as high as 4.5 metres.

Another company tried to do this in the '60s, but they couldn't solve the stability issues that made it impossible for a human to ride it safely. Now, aerospace engineer and Aerofex founder Mark De Roche and his team have found the secret sauce to make it all work: a new mechanical control system that, according to him, "captures the translations between the two in three axis (pitch, roll and yaw), and activates the aerodynamic controls required to counter the movement — which lines the vehicle back up with the pilot".

The human pilot just has to lean and balance in a natural way, much like you do while riding a bicycle or a motorbike. It's all instinctive, says De Roche. "Since [the pilot's] balancing movements are instinctive and constant, it plays out quite effortlessly to him."

Sadly, it won't be sold to the public just yet — Aerofex wants to sell it to the US military first. The company thinks that it can be used for heavy lifting in rough terrains without having to care about wheels or caterpillar tracks. And, unlike helicopters and other flying devices, this one can go through trees and canyons. De Roche says that they "have unique performance advantages though ... as they have demonstrated flight within trees, close to walls and under bridges".

While it may seem slow now, this is only the first version. I can't wait for the one that goes at least at three times the speed. [Aerofex via Innovation News Daily via Rio Norte Line via Blstr]


Comments

    "Demonstrated flight within trees" they say. Have they not seen the Battle of Endor?

    Fake.

      it would be more believeable if they did this with a skateboard amirite
      wink wink 2 years left

    Erm.. Why was there no long shot there? Anybody...?

      Found this, still looks kinda flaky though.. but maybe I'm just a pessimist on this sort of stuff. :)
      http://blastr.com/2012/08/company-developing-real-s.php

      Go into their YouTube profile. Got some long shots right there. Seems real to me.

    Someone is slapping their leg and laughing right now.

      (At least that is what I do when people on the internet fall for my brilliant little schemes)

    "Now we just need lightsabres, golden robots with English accents and hyperspace engines."

    Well the robot sounds doable... unfortunately... ;)

    A guy has been working on another one of these for years now. I remember seeing this about 3 years ago: http://www.hover-bike.com/

    It's a hovercraft, hardly original or exciting, and with all the limitations of the breed.

    Where is the "speed" in this speeder???

    Maybe they should try a quad-rotor sort of config... Probably already have.

    I believe the military passed on this tech a long time ago due to the noise they make and the instability.

    What's interesting is how slow it is considering that it should be taking advantage of the ground effect. Why not a third horizontally mounted fan that provides a bit of thrust?

    Also i'm confused. We've had planes that are naturally unstable i.e. b-2 and f-16. The planes use fly-by-wire systems that automatically correct for the aerodynamic instability that their airframes cause.

    When designers of ground effect vehicles have complained that they're naturally unstable I've always been confused as to why they could design/buy/licence the same software that keeps these military aircraft stable in flight?

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