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Flying vehicle projects worthy of science fiction films, which mark a turning point in the history of the automotive industry, are taking shape day by day. One of them — a flying motorcycle with an autonomy of almost 40 minutes, was exhibited this month at the last auto show in Detroit (United States of America). The futuristic car called XTurismo, designed by a Japanese start-up with a subsidiary in the United States, is inspired by the “Landspeeders” of the Star Wars saga, the dream come true of an entire generation of “geeks” in the 90s. but also for thrill seekers.
Who hasn’t dreamed of a car or motorcycle flying above the traffic? Shuhei Komatsu, founder and CEO of Japanese start-up Aerwins Technologies, would be a big fan of Star Wars and especially its ultra-fast futuristic vehicles, born directly from the overflowing imagination of George Lucas. ” I wanted something from the movie to be real. It’s a Landspeeder (the kind of flying motorbikes that movie characters use) for the dark side », he declared Komatsu.
It is one of the first flying motorcycles available for sale in Japan. However, the XTurismo was shown for the first time in the United States during the Detroit Auto Show. During the demonstration, a comfortably seated test pilot manipulated the craft about a meter above the ground.
A motorcycle crossed with a drone
In its general design, the XTurismo is actually a combination of a drone and a motorcycle. Aerwins Technologies specializes in the design of drones and autonomous aerial vehicles. Their new machine runs on a Kawasaki hybrid internal combustion engine and an electric autonomous driving battery. In order to fly stably, it is equipped with four propellers located in the front and back.
XTurismo weighs almost 300 kg at a length of 3.7 m, a width of 2.4 m and a height of 1.5 m. It can fly for about forty minutes and carry a payload of 100 kg for a distance of 40 km. Its maximum speed is 100 km/h.
Video preview of the XTurismo demonstration in Detroit. © Aerwins Technologies
Although he still has a long way to go 250 km/h Landspeeder X-34 from Star Wars (Luke Skywalker’s model), the XTurismo would already offer amazing ride comfort. In addition, it is equipped with a number of anti-collision sensors and radars to ensure the safety of the driver. However, the vehicle is still too noisy for public driving and still needs to be monitored from a distance during take-off and landing.
Is it possible to register in the United States?
Although this type of vehicle is not yet legal near or on U.S. roads, Aerwins Technologies hopes that the U.S. government may eventually deem it non-aeronautical. Therefore, it would be easier to legalize his behavior, as in Japan. ” Japan does not classify the vehicle as an aircraft and does not require a license to operate it says Komatsu. If it were to be classified as an airplane, it could not be driven on roads, but only on areas reserved for flying machines.
The automaker plans to launch the new XTurismo model (a smaller version than the first) in the United States in 2023. The retail price at launch will be $777,000, but the company hopes to offer it for $50,000 by 2025. Komatsu believes that individuals could buy the XTurismo for recreation and governments to round out their line of security vehicles.