Not just flying cars and jetpacks, but also flying motorbikes for those who are bored of ground transport. The makers of Xturismo are inspired by the world of Star Wars and are working to turn fantasy into reality.
The Japanese startup ALI Technologies was founded just a few years ago, in 2016, by a few students from the University of Tokyo who were developing drones, but one of the company’s primary goals soon became to build not just conventional flying devices, but a type of vehicle developed by very few people: the flying engine. According to Evtol News, the founders were inspired by the idea of flying vehicles seen in Star Wars, which eventually led to the birth of the Xturismo, a hybrid vehicle in many ways (a combination of drone and motorbike, powered by both an internal combustion engine and an electric motor) that has now become a reality and was unveiled to the public yesterday, albeit for a very short time.
The flying engine uses drone technology to lift the aircraft up into the air, with a total of six propellers, two at the bottom where the wheels would be on a conventional engine and four on the sides to balance the wobble. Propulsion is provided by internal combustion and electric motors, which keep the vehicle airborne for 30-40 minutes and allow a maximum speed of 100 km/h. The upper part of the structure is motorbike-like and provides a comfortable position for flying on the large 3.7*2.4*1.5 m vehicle. The Xturismo is only available as a single-seater, with a maximum load capacity of 100 kilograms, and the price is not very friendly at the moment, with the first 200 units launched at $680,000 each, but this high pricing is actually part of the company’s strategy.
ALI Technologies, following in Tesla’s footsteps, says it will first sell the machine to the really wealthy customers, those who might not have a problem with the fact that flying motors are currently only available in a very small number of places, mostly private, possibly on racetracks, due to a lack of regulations. Later, once the business is up and running, more vehicles will be produced and prices will be reduced, bringing the device within reach of the wider public. The company expects that by then, the authorities will have addressed the issue of regulating rare vehicles like this and that legislation will allow the Xturismo to be used on ‘public roads’, or over public roads, in Japan by 2023.
Speaking at the first launch of the Xturismo at the Fuji Speedway Racing Course, company president Daisuke Katano said: ‘the primary task for getting flying motorcycles out into the open air is to establish the vehicles’ social acceptance, which means making drone engines available not only for recreational purposes, but also to help emergency services quickly arrive at emergency situations, disaster scenes and emergency care.