As we've mentioned before on this site, there are super cities, and then there's Dubai. This city in the United Arab Emirates is full of wild displays of wealth and crazy innovations that boggle the mind. (For a quick run through some of them, just click here.)
Sure, Dubai can be way over-the-top. But it can also sometimes give a glimpse at our possible future—a little like seeing a science fiction city in the here and now. A great example of this is how Dubai chooses to equip its emergency services.
We've already written about them testing jetpacks for their fire department. And now we've caught wind of another only-in-Dubai vehicle experiment.
Hey you, I'm up here ... and you're under arrest!
Yep, you read that correctly. Police. Hoverbikes.
How? To be clear, these things—made by the California company Hoversurf—are a) prototypes, and b) NOT powered by jet engines. So how do they work? Here's a video of one being tested by an officer.
So they're basically a larger version of a remote control drone. In fact, they can be operated as a drone. Though what would be the point of that? We want to chase bad guys on our hoverbike!
Hold your hoverbikes
Of course, there are a few challenges to these vehicles, not the least of which is the price. These things cost about $150,000 US. That will put a dent in the annual police budget this year! As this video shows, controlling the vehicle clearly takes some getting used to. And you shouldn't confuse this thing for a mini-plane or helicopter.
The designers recommend it being flown no higher than about 5 m (16 ft.) above the ground. That will get you up the top window of a two-storey house but not much higher. Lastly, it can only be flown for somewhere between 10 to 25 minutes before it needs recharging depending on the speed it is driven at. Though it can whip around at a top speed of 100 km/h (60 mph), so there's that.
Plus, it's noisy. And do those propellers around the legs look dangerous to anyone else? (Just saying!)
But they're so cool!
In the end, is a super expensive and noisy flying vehicle that can't fly that high—or for that long—a logical idea? Our guess is probably not. But hey, this is a city that found a way to build a ski hill in the middle of the desert! So you never know ...
Who wants hoverbikes?!