From time to time we’ve probably all had fanciful visions of a future where the populace moves around on cool flying cars and bikes. We are a long, long way from anything like that ever becoming reality, of course.
For an example of why this is, we need only look at the hoverbike Dubai’s police force has been testing for two years. In a move tinged with a whiff of PR, the force known for its love of headline-grabbing exotic patrol cars has been putting a ‘Hoversurf Scorpion’ through its paces, and its testing regime took a scary turn this week.
As seen in this new video, the pilot of the Scorpion comes crashing back down to Earth having been flying at nearly 100-foot, far above the 16-foot ceiling the vehicle is designed for. The Russian manufacturer of the bike admitted the accident was caused by mechanical failure.
Despite the Scorpion - which has exposed rotor blades - toppling backwards onto the rider shortly after impact, they thankfully escaped the wreck without suffering serious injury. In a statement, Hoversurf said: “All safety systems worked well, and the pilot was not injured. Safety is our main concern. It is thanks to such incidents that our designs are becoming more safe”.
Hoversurf - which also builds cargo drones and intends to make a flying car to go with the bike - boasts on its website that the S3 version has a “triple security system”. This consists of electronic measures like an emergency landing system and anti-interference screening, mechanical precautions such as a kill switch and passive protection including “deformation zones”.
Hoversurf has previously released images and videos of the S3 with rotor guards (which still make the blades look terrifyingly exposed) - we’re not sure why the Dubai police’s example doesn’t have these.
Perhaps realising the risk of rotor-related maiming limits the Scorpion’s practical applications, the company revealed a concept hoverbike late last year with eight smaller, significantly more enclosed blades. “The main idea of the concept is an increased level of safety,” Hoversurf said at the time. Well, duh.