Motorcycles

Ural builds a drone station into a motorcycle sidecar, in case you're into that sort of thing

Ural builds a drone station in...
Drone-eye view of the Ural Air
Drone-eye view of the Ural Air
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A motorcycle sidecar with a built-in drone station: the Ural Air
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A motorcycle sidecar with a built-in drone station: the Ural Air
Ural Air: has a seat
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Ural Air: has a seat
The Ural Air's drone hatch pops open on gas struts at the touch of a button
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The Ural Air's drone hatch pops open on gas struts at the touch of a button
Aural Air: secondary hatch on the tank is a good place for phones, wallets and sandwiches
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Aural Air: secondary hatch on the tank is a good place for phones, wallets and sandwiches
The Ural Air's built-in DJI Spark compartment
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The Ural Air's built-in DJI Spark compartment
Ural Air: protected underbody for off-road adventuring
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Ural Air: protected underbody for off-road adventuring
Drone-eye view of the Ural Air
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Drone-eye view of the Ural Air
Ural Air: don't try to ride it with the wind sock up, she's not that powerful
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Ural Air: don't try to ride it with the wind sock up, she's not that powerful
Ural Air: spare tire can fit any of the three wheels
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Ural Air: spare tire can fit any of the three wheels
Ural Air: uses a fuel injected, air-cooled 749cc boxer twin
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Ural Air: uses a fuel injected, air-cooled 749cc boxer twin
The Ural Air is a retro off-road motorcycle sidecar with a built-in drone station and DJI Spark
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The Ural Air is a retro off-road motorcycle sidecar with a built-in drone station and DJI Spark
View gallery - 11 images

Iconic Russian sidecar manufacturer Ural has decided that what its classic retro outfits need is more technology in the form of a built-in drone launch platform. The Ural Air comes with its own DJI Spark, with a carry case and launch platform built right into the sidecar.

Some people (mainly psychopaths, I'm led to believe) are into sidecars. A larger number of folk are into drones. I know exactly one guy who's into both drones and sidecars, but Ural must have some data indicating there's at least 40 such types in the world that will be willing to fork out US$17,999 for a sidecar custom built with drone pilots in mind.

The Ural Air is a modified version of the company's Gear Up outfit, a 749cc flat twin-powered sidecar making 41 hp with an on-demand two-wheel-drive system that sends power to the sidecar wheel when requested to give it some additional off-road capability. While it now sports modern accoutrements like fuel injection and disc brakes all round, it's still a WW2-era Soviet re-engineering of a 1930s BMW design at heart. Ural has arguably been a retro brand for almost its entire existence.

The Ural Air's built-in DJI Spark compartment
The Ural Air's built-in DJI Spark compartment

In service of its drone-enabling ambitions, the Air's sidecar is equipped with a button-operated, waterproofed hatch built by Stratasys, beneath which rests a DJI Spark in a small case that allows it to remain fully set up and ready for action. A USB port is provided specifically for charging the drone, which can launch straight out of its case, and when the hatch is closed it doubles as a landing pad for skilled pilots that don't mind the whirring of prop blades close to their faces.

The remote can be placed in a custom-tailored RAM mount and clamped to a convenient point where either the passenger or the rider can fly the drone while seated. And in addition to the standard spare wheel, fog lights, jerry can, utility shovel and tool kit, Ural also provides a telescopic selfie stick, to which a windsock can be fitted should a pilot be incapable of licking a finger and holding it up in the air.

The Ural Air is a retro off-road motorcycle sidecar with a built-in drone station and DJI Spark
The Ural Air is a retro off-road motorcycle sidecar with a built-in drone station and DJI Spark

We would advise pilots not to leave the windsock up while attempting to ride the motorcycle, as the parachute effect it creates may overpower the stock Ural engine and impede progress.

Only 40 will be built, at a US$1,500 premium to the price of the standard Gear Up. That's not bad for what you're getting, actually, and they'll hit showrooms in November. Pre-orders are available now.

Check out the Ural Air in action in the video below.

Source: Ural

2018 Ural Air Limited Edition

View gallery - 11 images
2 comments
possum1
If its on a GearUp model then we won't be seeing it here. Driven chair wheel on the GearUp is only available in those places that drive on the Right. High Tech mixed with Ural is a bit of an oxymoron, but should appeal to a cashed up hipster.
YuraG
Thanks, Loz, for making me laugh quite a bit! If there were not morons, nobody would buy this having read your take on the subject. I recently helped a chap to push his I-wanna-look-like-a-chopper Ural from sands. What a piece of nonsense it is, but ... got bless morons anyway.