A year after California-based startup Hoversurf showcased its hoverbike at tech expo GITEX in the white and green livery of the Dubai Police, the company has returned with a new model and evidence its electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) vehicle might be, well, taking off.
Making good on a deal signed in 2017, Hoversurf has now gifted Dubai Police its first serial production unit of the S3 2019 Hoverbike and has begun training officers to fly it.
Brigadier Khalid Nasser Alrazooqi, general director of Dubai Police’s artificial intelligence department, described the eVTOL vehicle as a first responder unit used to access hard to reach areas. He said he aims to have hoverbikes in action by 2020.
“Currently we have two crews already training (to pilot the hoverbike) and we’re increasing the number,” he told. Hoversurf chief operating officer Joseph Segura-Conn explained that ideal candidates will be able to ride a motorcycle and have drone operating experiences.
Hoversurf S3 2019 Hoverbike
Weight: 253 lbs
Total thrust: 802 lbs
Max speed: 60 mph
Safe flying altitude: 16 ft
Flight time with pilot: 10-25 minutes
Flight time in drone mode: up to 40 minutes
Charge time: 2.5 hours
Based on a prototype previously made from aluminium, the body of the ‘electric vertical take-off and landing bike (EVTOL)’ is a one-piece carbon-fibre composite, which both reduces the weight and adds structural rigidity. The new curb weight – now just 114 kg (253 lb) – means Hoversurf has been able to install a ‘more capacious battery’ discharging 12.3 kWh as part of the S3 2019’s hybrid powertrain.
This also allows the drone, restricted by law to a 96 km/h top speed (52 knots) and an altitude of 16 ft (5 metres), to fly for up to 40 minutes on what the company calls ‘drone mode’.
Also newly developed are the three-blade propellers, each of which is said to be 10 per cent quieter than the previous twin-blade design and smaller in diameter by 5 cm. Power comes from the as-of-yet unspecified ‘new engines,’ which provide 33 kW of power apiece (around 45 hp), while total thrust is said to be 364 kg (802 lbs).
Bear in mind this is not the first time Dubai police has thought big when it comes to promotion. Its ‘Supercar Fleet,’ purely promotional, already boasts a Bugatti Veyron, an Aston Martin One-77, a Lamborghini Aventador and a BMW i8 among others. Until recently, Dubai police also held the Guinness World Record for the largest ever synchronized car dance, an accolade only overhauled last month by the Nissan Patrol.
Orders are open to civilians, but buyers will be screened to ensure they can handle the new tech.