The U.S. military is developing a hovering motorbike

The U.S. military is building a motorcycle that can fly.

Malloy Aeronautics is the company behind the Hoverbike, and it’s partnered up with the U.S. Department of Defense to manufacture the ridable bicopter in Maryland, according to Reuters. Malloy created a Kickstarter last year to fund the project, and has since received the military’s attention.

The vehicle is part-helicopter and part-motorcycle, featuring two large rotors in the front and rear, while a person rides and controls it from a seat in the middle.

At the Paris Air Show this week, Mark Butkiewicz from U.S. defense research company SURVICE, told Reuters why the military wants a hovering motorcycle.

The Department of Defense is interested in Hoverbike technology because it can support multiple roles. It can transport troops over difficult terrain and when it’s not used in that purpose it can also be used to transport logistics, supplies, and it can operate in both a manned and unmanned asset. It can also operate as a surveillance platform.

The creators of Hoverbike wanted to make something that does the same things as a helicopter, but for less money. Malloy built a tiny prototype that demonstrates how the Hoverbike will actually operate.

The Hoverbike will be able to operate semi-autonomously. Riders will be able to program it to follow certain flight paths and fly by itself or hover when not controlled by the rider. And while initially created as a bicopter, Malloy has plans to give it four rotors eventually.

Passenger-carrying drones are the next frontier in aviation: E-Volo has created a multicopter that can seat up to two passengers for a 20-minute flight. We’re still in the early phases of drones and quadcopters that can transport humans, but the potential for flight inspired by drone technology could carry us from place to place in the future. For now, it’s all prototypes.

H/T Gizmodo | Photo via Malloy Aeronautics

Selena Larson

Selena Larson

Selena Larson is a technology reporter based in San Francisco who writes about the intersection of technology and culture. Her work explores new technologies and the way they impact industries, human behavior, and security and privacy. Since leaving the Daily Dot, she's reported for CNN Money and done technical writing for cybersecurity firm Dragos.