Hoverbike reaches new heights
A Kiwi's hoverbike invention is starting to take off in the United Kingdom.
Chris Malloy, originally from New Zealand, first invented his hoverbike out of a garage when he was living in Sydney.
But that was a few years ago now and Malloy has since moved to the UK and started the company Malloy Aeronautics with a team of engineers.
What they have created looks like something from a Star Wars movie.
As with any project with this level of innovation funding was always going to be an issue but the company has taken a novel approach to solving that.
It began a Kickstarter project, which basically asks people to pledge money to a company in return for rewards.
But Malloy did not ask for money for his hoverbike, rather for an unmanned drone, one-third the size of the hoverbike, with the aim of trying to create a revenue stream high enough to fund the hoverbike project.
The Kickstarter project has already exceed its 30,000 pound (NZ$59,200) goal by almost 15,000 pounds and it still has nine days to run.
Three people have made pledges of more than 2100 pounds and in return will get a full hovercraft experience, including staying in a five-star hotel and being taught how to ride it at the company's design headquarters.
The drones retail for about NZ$2000, and the company hopes they will sell to the level that the hoverbike will be able to be commercially produced.
Malloy told the Telegraph the hoverbike was much more than just a niche project and could provide a safer, more reliable mode of transport than a helicopter.
"When I got my helicopter licence I realised that the helicopter, as a design, has a lot of improvements that need to be made and one of them is safety and reliability.
"They're very complex machines and my goal is to see where we can strip away the complexity and increase the safety and that's basically where the hoverbike came from."
The company's website said the full size hoverbike could be used by emergency services and search and rescue.
"It's low cost and practical size lends itself to search and rescue, precision farming and cattle mustering, first-responder emergency services and cargo insertion of up to 120kg into confined spaces.
"We believe it would be ideal for ski and mountain rescue, airborne logistics and time-sensitive personnel insertion/extraction during major disasters."
If the hoverbike did become a reality, it could cost the same price as a mid to high end car or SUV, the company said.