Last year it was reported that Dubai, United Arab Emirates police would be equipped with flying motorbikes, or “hoverbikes.”
Now, it’s looking like Dubai police will ride around on these things sooner than expected, as California-based startup company Hoversurf has returned again with a new model and some genuinely tangible evidence that its “vertical take-off,” electric vehicle may indeed be put into use.
A deal was signed in 2017, after Hoversurf showcased its previous model of a hoverbike at tech expo GITEX, and now Hoversurf is gifting Dubai Police with its very first serial production unit of the S3 2019 Hoverbike.
The company is even training officers to fly the vehicles. Why police have to be the first ones to wield such technology, well apparently it’s about money. The Dubai Police have an artificial intelligence department, and it was casually referenced by CNN.
Brigadier Khalid Nasser Alrazooqi, general director of that department’s artificial intelligence department described this eVTOL vehicle as a “first responder unit,” put to use accessing difficult to reach places, that a car probably could not reach.
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That general director stated that he aims to see the hoverbikes in use by police by 2020.
“Currently we have two crews already training (to pilot the hoverbike) and we’re increasing the number,” he said to CNN.
It was explained by a company man, Hoversurf chief operating officer Joseph Segura-Conn that ideal candidates within the program will get the ability to both ride a motorcycle type thing, and experience drone operating, essentially.
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Footage of a cop learning how to pilot a hoverbike appeared online recently as well, the main focus of articles about this.
Segura-Conn continued to explain that Dubai Police have been granted exclusive rights to purchase as many of these Hoverbike units as they would like. “They’re going to let us know in the next month or two if they’d like any more … If they would like 30 or 40, we’ll make it happen for them,” he said.
The bikes are being provided to these police because of money and business, also maybe some factors we don’t know about, but it’s not exclusively Dubai police that can purchase these.
If you have $150,000 to spare, you can purchase one of these as a civilian, but buyers are “screened” to try and ensure they are capable of handling the technology.
One great accomplishment the company has made is that they have successfully met Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) guidelines, meaning a person needs no pilot’s license to fly the vehicle.
Critics described the vehicle as “pretty limited” when it came to performing police tasks, as stated by Tim Robinson Aerospace magazine editor in chief, but he added it looks like “bags of fun.”
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He stated that these eVTOL vehicles are pressured by current battery technology, but noted that advances in that technology, including in battery energy density, or with the introduction of new materials like graphene, could increase battery life and flight time in the near future.
Improving that battery life was also touched upon by both the Dubai Police and Hoversurf, and they also mentioned the development of more efficient propulsion systems.
One thing Hoversurf developed is a ducted fan system it claims is quieter, safer, ad smaller, as well as more efficient than a propeller with the equivalent thrust. It plans to add this feature to future models.