A Japanese startup is hoping to make a leap into the transportation sector and convince car owners to abandon it and replace it with a $680,000 hoverbike.
ALI Technologies put its flying bike, called the X-Turismo Limited Edition, for sale in Japan earlier on Wednesday.
The Tokyo-based start-up has received huge support from Japanese electronics giant Mitsubishi, as well as Japanese football player Keisuke Honda.
ALA Technologies says that the bicycle can fly for 40 minutes at a speed of up to 100 km / h on a single electric charge.
The company aims to manufacture 200 300 kg Hover bikes by mid-2022.
Each bike is equipped with a conventional motor and four battery-powered electric motors.
“Until now, the choice has been to move on the ground or fly high in the sky,” said Daisuke Katano, CEO of ALI Technologies.
He added that the company hopes “to present a new method of locomotion (flying close to the ground)”.
Overcrowding is a major problem for Tokyo’s 13.5 million residents. The high-tech city is the most densely populated urban area in the world.
However, current laws prohibit flying bicycles from flying over Japan’s busy roads.
Although Mr. Katano hopes that rescue teams will use his company’s new bikes to reach inaccessible areas.
Ben Gardner, from Britain’s Pinsent Masons, told BBC News that (flying) vehicles that once seemed like a distant future are becoming increasingly tangible every year.
“Ultimately, there is scope for us to see flying vehicles spread across Britain,” he said.
A flying bicycle is not roadworthy under current UK law.
But Gardner said the focus on new technologies in recent years could signal the potential for change (in laws).
“The current experience with emerging technologies such as self-driving cars, robotics and drones shows that there is a blueprint for new forms of transportation to move from the realm of science fiction to the real world,” he said.
Venture capitalists, airlines and even Uber, with its ambitious Uber Elephant company, are laying claim to the burgeoning flying car industry, which analysts say could be worth $1.5 trillion by 2040.