Japan startup unveils manned hoverbike, expecting it to fly above public roads...

Japan startup unveils manned hoverbike, expecting it to fly above public roads [video]

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See the original story in Japanese.

Tokyo-based A.L.I. Technologies (formerly known as Aerial Lab Industries) gave the press a demonstration of the prototype of its hoverbike named Speeder today. This was the first tine to show the hoverbike capable of flying with a person while the company showcased a mock-up of it at press conference announcing the establishment of Drone Fund’s No.2 fund last year.

Since the company thinks that it requires some time to realize a manned drone due to undeveloped legal system, it first aims the practical application of a hoverbike that can run on public roads floating in the air. They are currently in negotiation with tjhe Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism and the National Police Agency about the possible permission to ride a hoverbike with both a medium-sized motorcycle license and a drone license. The company also expects to ask purchasers of Speeder to get a lecture or training in advance at an authorized drone school for the consideration of safety.

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Speeder, A.L.I.Technologies’ hoverbike under development
Image credit: Masaru Ikeda

In the demonstration, they showed the hoverbike’s various functions working properly: altitude control by ultrasonic sensor, auto-attitude control by IMU (Inertial Measurement Unit), buoyancy control by duct effect / ground effect as well as braking system. This prototype mounts a generic but customized engine but the detailed specification including how much power output it has was not disclosed.

A.L.I. Technologies starts taking orders for Limited Edition of Speeder Standard Model (only 100 will be sold) in early May while the finished product will be delivered in the first half of 2021. The expected price is $80,000 to $120,000. No down payment of deposit is needed but the firm plans to conduct pre-purchase examination for purchasers including license possession status in order to prevent the abuse of the product.

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A.L.I. Technologies also plans to produce Speeder Sports Model targeting high-end users (the expected price is $300,000 to $500,000), although the production volume is still to be fixed. As for the mass production type of Speeder following Limited Edition, it will work using electric motors without gasoline engine and propeller but the company has not disclosed about how they will make it float in the air. In the demonstration event, Shuhei Komatsu (Chirman, A.L.I. Technologies), Kotaro Chiba (General Partner, Drone Fund / Managing Director & Investor, A.L.I. Technologies ) and Soichiro Imaeda (member of the House of Representatives, Diet Members Caucus supporting Drone Business) celebrated the hoverbike has stepped into the new development phase.

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L to R: Kotaro Chiba (General Partner, Drone Fund / Managing Director, A.L.I. Technologies), Soichiro Imaeda (Member of the House of Representatives, Japan / Executive Director, Diet Members Caucus supporting Drone Business), Shuhei Komatsu (Chairman, A.L.I. Technologies) and Daisuke Kataoka (CEO, A.L.I. Technologies)
Image credit: Masaru Ikeda

Translated by Taijiro Takeda
Edited by Masaru Ikeda