Limited edition hoverbike takes flight, order books open
Last week, Japanese drone developer ALI Technologies briefly took to the skies above the Fuji Speedway racetrack for the launch of the slick-looking Xturismo Limited Edition hoverbike, which is now up for order with deliveries expected to follow in the first half of 2022.
In development since 2017, ALI Tech (which has Mitsubishi, Yanmar and Kyocera among its customers) started the pre-launch buildup back in June when a separate website for the hoverbike went live. The first video went up a month later, where the rider appears from behind rocky terrain to fly down the coast towards a lush green resort.
A static display was set up in the carpark at the Daikanyama Tsutaya store in Tokyo from October 9, to show the vehicle in the flesh ahead of an unveiling ceremony at the Fuji Speedway track on October 26.
Specifications listed on the official product website are somewhat vague, but the funky single-seater is powered by both a conventional engine and electric motors. The main chassis appears to be fashioned using carbon fiber and sits above huge caged props front and back, while each corner is also home to a smaller caged prop.
On the ground, the vehicle rests on two skids, and the rider steps up to straddle the body like a motorcycle. The hoverbike measures 3.7 x 2.4 x 1.5 m (12.1 x 7.8 x 4.9 ft) and tips the scales at 300 kg (~660 lb), it can support a rider weight up to 100 kg (220 lb), has a flight time of up to 40 minutes, and a reported top speed in the region of 100 km/h (62 mph).
For the demo flight video below, the Xturismo is seen taking off vertically before slowly moving forward a couple of meters above the tarmac. The rider then does a u-turn before coming to rest again. Nothing too thrilling, but it serves to demonstrate that the hoverbike works as advertised and offers a fairly stable flight in the right hands.
We've seen a few hoverbike proposals before of course – from the likes of Malloy Aeronautics, Kalashnikov, Hoversurf and and even wacky inventor Colin Furze – but the ALI Tech flavor has to be one of the slickest consumer-ready models so far.
The Xturismo Limited Edition will have a production run of just 200, and is priced at 77.7 million yen (about US$680,000, though it's not clear at this stage whether the hoverbike will be available outside of Japan). Buyers will currently be limited to flying on the kind of track used for the demo flight, as regulations in Japan prohibit such vehicles from flying over public roads – though ALI Tech recently partnered with the Yamanashi Prefecture to move air mobility forward, so change is definitely in the air.
Product page: Xturismo Limited Edition