When you think of the United Arab Emirates and cities like Dubai, the first thing that comes to mind is excess. Dubai is the city that brought us the seven-star hotel. Where five-star accommodation is considered the budget option and people build entire artificial islands.
Clearly when money is no object, a place like Dubai can become the playground for some very interesting toys. The Dubai police, for example, are no strangers to exotic law enforcement tools. Don’t be surprised if you see a hypercar with police livery blast past you on the highway!
Now the Dubai police are looking at adding something more radical than a Lambo to their fleet. The Scorpion hoverbike by Russian company Hoversurf doesn’t seem like it would be street legal (airworthy?) anywhere else in the world, but the Dubai police are looking to embrace it with open arms. Just what are they getting for the $150K asking price?
The Scorpion (or S3) looks a little like those plastic arcade motorcycles, bolted to a base. One of the reasons the Scorpion is so expensive has to do with the materials in use. The monocoque frame consists of a mix of carbon fibre techniques. Cutting the total weight of the bike down to 114Kg. Apparently the the weight limit is not technical in nature, but legal. The bike has to be below a certain weight in order for permission to operate. This latest version has freed up some weight capacity for more battery power.
The bike uses a lithium-manganese-nickel battery, which provides a flight time of up to 25 minutes depending on conditions and load.
There are four rotors set in a quadcopter formation around the pilot. Worryingly they have no ducts or shrouds. Presumably this is also part of the effort to save on weight, but one wonders about protecting the pilot or pedestrians from being shredded!
Scream if You Want to Go Faster
The Scorpion has a maximum speed of 62 miles per hour. Which might not sound fast when sitting in a comfortable car, but is probably terrifying five meters above ground with nothing but a thick jacket and a motocross helmet.
In some countries this speed will be lower by law, so don’t assume you’ll get the unlimited experience out of the box.
In the videos of the Scorpion in flight, it doesn’t seem all that previse or nimble, yet on paper it can take off and land from a normal parking space.
If you are worried about something going wrong, it is some comfort that Hoversurf have built in quite a few safety features. None of them are a parachute, but at 5 meters it wouldn’t work anyway.
Instead there are electronic redundancies, auto take off and landing, altitude hold and all-weather LiDAR. The body also has crumple zones and other passive crash protection built in.
Cooler than Cool – But At What Price?
By which I mean actually dollar figures. The good news is that you don’t have to plonk down the entire price to secure one of these. All it takes is a measly $10K deposit and then you have a little but of time to come up with the rest. After securing your unit Hoversurf will be ready to deliver between two and six months later.
I’ll admit, it would be cool to have the closest thing to a speeder bike from Star Wars. Then I remember that almost everyone who rode one in those movies ended up splattered against a tree.
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