Technology

3D Printed Robot Takes Hoverbike Out For A Spin

August 26, 2014 | by Lisa Winter

Photo credit: Malloy Aeronautics

Earlier this year we introduced you to Aero-X, a hovercraft that is slated for commercial availability in 2017. It appears that a competitor is coming up through the ranks, as Malloy Aeronautics is also developing a Hoverbike quadcopter that will support an adult pilot. Though there isn’t currently a projected release date or price point, though they “estimate it will sell for about the same price as a mid to high end car or SUV.” Malloy Aeronautics is currently running a Kickstarter campaign for a 1/3 scale model of the eventual full-sized hoverbike, dubbed the Drone 3.

The drone is about 4 feet long, though it can fold up to easily fold up to fit inside of a backpack. The design was intentionally done with a minimalist feel, It is piloted by Buster, a 3D printed cyborg-like individual that has a Go Pro instead of a face. This allows the person controlling the drone to see what it will be like to fly the Hoverbike with the full-sized version comes out later. 

The Kickstarter campaign has already surpassed its £30,000 goal, and has just over £53,000 at the time of writing. Contributions as little as £750 will receive the Drone 3 along with the plans to 3D print your own cyborg Buster pilot. There is still time to get in on the Kickstarter and get your own drone quadcopter. The campaign ends at 6:55 EDT on August 31 (which happens to be my birthday. Just throwing it out there, in case you were strapped for ideas).

When the full sized model is released, it will be able to be piloted either manned or unmanned with a maximum payload of 270kg (595 lbs). It will have a flight time of 1 or 2 hours, depending on whether or not the secondary fuel tank is used. It can help military and search & rescue crews navigate over rough terrain, though it could also be used by scientists for aerial survey and to monitor wildlife. Basically, if there is a situation where a regular helicopter would be useful but isn’t exactly practical, this Hoverbike could be the solution.

Check out how the Drone 3 looks in action:

 

 

[Hat tip: Popular Science]

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