The Dubai police force isn’t known for holding back when it comes to transportation. Last year, they announced that they were looking at adopting functional hoverbikes as a way to cruise over tight traffic. Now, they’re already starting to train their cops with the hope that they’ll be able to fully introduce these bad boys in 2020.
California-based Russian company Hoversurf made good on last year’s promise, according to CNN. The electric vertical take-off and landing (or, eVTOL) vehicle was showcased at the GITEX tech expo, showing that they’ve delivered its first ever serial production of the S3 2019 Hoverbike model—and, more importantly, that the police are already hopping on to start training.
As per Brigadier Khalid Nasser Alrazooqui, the general director of Dubai Police’s artificial intelligence department has stated that they’re currently training two crews of officers with the hoverbikes, which they’re hoping to actually implement full time in 2020. The force has exclusive rights to order as many units as they want, so if everyone decides they love ‘em, they can ask for as many more as they need.
Hoversurf chief operating officer Joseph Segura-Conn has mentioned that the ideal candidate to operate the hovercrafts are folks who both know how to ride a motorcycle and operate a drone—a very niche intersection of interests, if you ask me, but apparently the cops out in Dubai are figuring it out.
The specs on the Hoversurf S3 make it seem like a hell of a lot of fun—but slightly less excellent for actual police work. With a max speed of 60 mph, you’re not going to be able to get up to any high-speed chases, but it’s a great option for getting into hard to reach places. However, the S3 can only sustain a maximum of 25 minutes flight time with a pilot and up to 40 minutes when it’s in drone mode. So, you’re not going to see these traveling long distances. We’re talking more quick-and-easy jobs.
However, eVTOLs are in a similar boat as most electric technology right now. Battery technology is currently pretty limited. But it could be a pretty neat investment for the future, considering that advancements in the electric tech field are ramping up. By the 2020 full implementation date, we could very well be talking about a much different range—either though battery tech or more effective propulsion systems.
And yes, you can order one of these bad boys right here in the United States. You don’t need a pilot’s license to operate one—but it will cost you $150,000, and there’s a possibility that you’ll be screened prior to purchase in order to make sure you can actually, y’know, operate the thing.
The eVTOL field is growing, but it’s still in its baby stages. No one is exactly sure, y’know, what combinations of aerodynamic features will produce the most effective machine. Hoversurf is working on it, but it looks like the Dubai testing is as much a learning experience for them as it is for the police.