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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.

A.L.I. Technologies XTURISMO 富士スピードウェイお披露目会(2021/10/26)

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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