A California company has developed a prototype hover bike that will have anyone who's ever watched Leia and Luke race through the forests of Endor salivate.
While this video of the Aerofex hover vehicle doesn't show it on the same difficult terrain that we saw in Star Wars, it does look to do some pretty neat stuff while scooting around the Mojave Desert in California:
Innovation News Daily explains. The hover bike is controlled without the use of electronics, artificial intelligence or flight software.What is almost more fascinating than seeing the bike in action, though, is knowing how it operates. The 'pilot' (although no actual pilot training is needed) stands on the vehicle and controls it by leaning in the direction they want to go,
"It essentially captures the translations between the two in three axis (pitch, roll and yaw), and activates the aerodynamic controls required to counter the movement — which lines the vehicle back up with the pilot," Mark De Roche, aerospace engineer and founder of Aerofex, told Innovation News Daily. "Since [the pilot's] balancing movements are instinctive and constant, it plays out quite effortlessly to him."
De Roche says he hopes that the development of this hover bike will lead to the eventual creation of unmanned drones, which could be used to help tend fields or deliver supplies over rough terrain.
Aerofex is looking to prep one of these unmanned drones for testing by the end of 2013, and hopes to have a second version of the manned hover bike for flight testing by October of this year.
For another perspective of the hover bike in action, here's the view from one of the onboard cameras: