The Aerofex hover vehicle looks a little familiar.
If we weren’t living in enough of ‘The World of the Future” as we’ve seen in novels, movies and television for your liking, it looks like someone has taken a step in the right direction… up.
A resurrected hover vehicle won’t fly through dense forests as effortlessly as the “Star Wars” speeder bikes from “Return of the Jedi,” but its intuitive controls could someday allow anyone to fly it without pilot training. The aerial vehicle resembles ascience fiction flying bike with two ducted rotors instead of wheels, but originates from a design abandoned in the 1960s because of stability and rollover problems. Aerofex, a California-based firm, fixed the stability issue by creating a mechanical system — controlled by two control bars at knee-level — that allows the vehicle to respond to a human pilot’s leaning movements and natural sense of balance. “Think of it as lowering the threshold of flight, down to the domain of ATV’s (all-terrain vehicles),” said Mark De Roche, an aerospace engineer and founder of Aerofex. Such intuitive controls could allow physicians to fly future versions of the vehicle to visit rural patients in places without roads, or enable border patrol officers to go about their duties without pilot training. All of it happens mechanically without the need for electronics, let alone complicated artificial intelligence or flight software. [See Hover ‘Bike’ Fly (Video)] “It essentially captures the translations between the two in three axis (pitch, roll and yaw), and activates the aerodynamic controls required to counter the movement — which lines the vehicle back up with the pilot,” De Roche told InnovationNewsDaily. “Since [the pilot’s] balancing movements are instinctive and constant, it plays out quite effortlessly to him.”
Read more at www.space.com
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