It’s not quite as sleek as a Storm Trooper’s speeder bike, but you have to start somewhere.
The push to develop a hoverbike is coming to the U.S., as a British company years into the effort is opening an office near Aberdeen Proving Ground to develop the floating vehicle for the U.S. military.
Malloy Aeronautics already has a prototype that combines the “simplicity of a motorbike with the freedom of a helicopter.” It flies much like a quadcopter, with four propellers on either side. The driver can sit in the middle, or the vehicle could fly unmanned.
The three-year-old company, which also sells drones, has been using crowdfunding to fuel R&D operations. Those efforts will now get a boost, as the U.S. Army Research Lab is interested. The military may want to use the floating bike as Tactical Reconnaissance Vehicle (TRV), which means it could end up scouting behind enemy lines.
The Army’s interest prompted a move to Maryland. Malloy’s new office will be co-located with Belcamp-based Survice Engineering Co., a 400-employee contractor that supports Army R&D efforts. The two companies will partner on the hoverbike development through an existing Survice contract with the Army Research Lab.
The companies are showing off the technology this week at the Paris Air Show, and Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford’s office announced the partnership. Rutherford said the hoverbike represents a “new frontier in aviation.”