The next frontier in line to be conquered is the air. Humanity has done it already, what with planes and things, but vehicles like the Xturismo intend to bring something a little more… exciting to the skies above us.
It’s called “urban air mobility” and what it translates to is… well, it’s flying cars. And bikes too, obviously. Japanese company A.L.I. Technologies recently showed off its own take on a flying motorcycle thingy on a racetrack. Which isn’t as exciting as it sounds but it certainly is loud.
See, the Xturismo (the ‘x’ is how you know it’s from the future) doesn’t zip around the racetrack like a futuristic vehicle piloted by Vin Diesel in the 27th Fast and Furious film (Even Faster, Still Furious). The solidly be-kitted pilot fusses around the bike for a bit before getting on and taking off to putter around the track like a grandmother flying a drone for the first time.
But that’s to be expected. Drones are generally lightweight pieces of equipment. They’re not often called upon to lift 300 kilograms of engine, motor, bodywork, and a pilot. Though ‘driver’ is a more appropriate term for this flying oddity — it’s classified as an ultralight craft, meaning that most countries don’t require a pilot’s license to operate it.
Which makes sense, seeing it in action here. It hardly looks dangerous, scooting around the track like a first-time driver in a parking lot. But its creators claim the Xturismo has a flight time of about 45 minutes and a top speed of 100km/h — at least some training might be a good idea since you’re not going to just coast to a stop after pulling the clutch in if you make an error. No, you’re going to be an organ donor far sooner than you were expecting to.
Want one? Who wouldn’t. But you’ll pay for the privilege — orders are now open for the Xturismo Limited Edition, but you can expect to pay at least R10,5 million in order to stow one in your garage. And, based on its noise profile, your neighbours are definitely going to complain when you haul it out for a Sunday breakfast run.