Watch this futuristic hoverbike take a tentative test flight

A flying motorbike that’s been in development since 2017 recently took a public test flight to prove that it really works.

Designed and built by Japanese firm A.L.I. Technologies, the futuristic-looking Xturismo hoverbike flew over a racetrack near Tokyo, with members of the media and other guests looking on.

While its creators claim Xturismo can reach speeds of up to 60 mph (100 kph) and fly for up to 40 minutes at a time, the recent demonstration flight was a rather cautious affair, with the pilot flying slowly along the track and performing a couple of 180-degree turns close to the ground.

The 660-pound (300 kg) single-seat aircraft is powered by six sets of propellors and an internal combustion engine. It looked stable enough during its brief flight, though we’d like to have seen a few more maneuvers and a bit more speed.

Speaking at the demonstration event, A.L.I. Technologies CEO Daisuke Katano spoke ambitiously of the company’s vision for the machine, saying: “We would like to propose a new lifestyle with this floating vehicle.”

The hoverbike is set to go on sale next year for around $680,000, with the company planning initially planning a limited run of 200 units. But before it can take to the skies in a public place, local regulators will have to greenlight the contraption — so don’t expect to see it flying over Tokyo’s Shibuya Crossing or Mount Fuji anytime soon.

Small aircraft for so-called “flying taxi” services are the focus of a growing number of major companies, among them Airbus, Toyota, and Honda. Known as vertical-take-off-and-landing (VTOL) machines, the aircraft currently under development are mostly electric-powered and designed for fairly short flights across cities.

It’s a highly competitive sector, though there’s still much work to be done before flying taxis have any chance of becoming a regular feature of the urban landscape.

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