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Dubai Police Get Hoverbikes (mashable.com) 118

An anonymous reader quotes Mashable: The Dubai police, which already has luxury patrol cars, self-driving pursuit drones, and a robot officer, just announced it will soon have officers buzzing around on hoverbikes, which look like an early version of the speeder bikes used by the scout troopers on Endor in Return of the Jedi. The force (see what I did there?) unveiled its new Hoversurf Scorpion craft at the Gitex Technology Week conference, according to UAE English language publication Gulf News. The police force will use the hoverbike for emergency response scenarios, giving officers the ability to zoom over congested traffic conditions by taking to the air... The Scorpion can also fly autonomously for almost four miles at a time for other emergencies.
The fully-electric hoverbike stays aloft for about 25 minutes per charge at a top speed around 43 mph.

Gulf News also reported that Dubai police "unveiled robotic vehicles which will be equipped with biometric software to scan for wanted criminals and undesirable elements."
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Dubai Police Get Hoverbikes

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    A well timed and well placed EMP would probably be a very painful experience for whomever was riding the hoverbike at the time.
    • by Mr D from 63 ( 3395377 ) on Sunday October 15, 2017 @05:38PM (#55374251)

      A well timed and well placed EMP would probably be a very painful experience for whomever was riding the hoverbike at the time.

      As would contact with one of those open blades.

      The video is long on fluff and short on any actual flying. Clearly, a long way from practical use.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        It's a Russian design. They're a little less concerned about health and safety than we are in the West. "Pilot fell in blades, is mincemeat. Is pity, clean up pieces, fetch spare pilot."

      • by w3woody ( 44457 )
        Came here to say that. I mean, who puts the whirling blades of death at kneecap level without any sorts of guards? All you need is a poorly timed kick (in reaction to losing your balance, say), to have the bottom half of your leg chopped off by one of those four spinning Cuisinart blades...
      • by Shotgun ( 30919 )

        Umm?! I think a well place rock would be more than sufficient. Carbon fiber blades are lightweight, but not know for resiliency. You have 4 to choose from here. Take out any of them and you have a three legged table, and a dead policeman.

      • Just show the cop a glimpse of a bare ankle; it'll send him into a uncontrollable frenzy and a moment later it'll be raining down chunks of meat.
    • by hey! ( 33014 )

      Can be taken out with a lasso.

    • Why bother with something so exotic and unaimable, lob just about anything into those exposed lift blades they showed. For that matter, get the right colored rope or cable and watch those suckers clothesline themselves if they come in at predictable altitudes, or have multiple lines set up.

      Besides, it's not like they can turn or stop worth a damn on those things.

      Sure they look cool, and can ignore potholes while they fly in straight lines, but other than that, an expensive and risky waste of resources.
    • Can be taken out by an awkwardly thrown loose ball of string.

    • Any modern vehicle is vunerable to an EMP attack, cars depend so much on electronics these days.
  • by Cyberax ( 705495 ) on Sunday October 15, 2017 @05:37PM (#55374245)
    And with these unprotected blades rotating at high speed they can also perform beheadings on the fly! Sounds like it's a great feature for Dubai police.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Definitely a feature, not a bug. Also great for making coleslaw.
    • by Tablizer ( 95088 )

      unprotected blades rotating at high speed...can also perform beheadings on the fly!

      Citizens now call it "Dubye"

    • Works for jokes, but I bet those suckers are rather lightweight and will shatter when almost anything solid impacts them. Ever seen what happens when a quarter goes into a jet engine? It gets utterly mangled, and you can even tell which way the quarter hit on a blade by looking at the impressions. (nice flat hit is clear enough you can tell heads or tails)
      • by rhazz ( 2853871 )

        I bet those suckers are rather lightweight and will shatter when almost anything solid impacts them

        4 small props spinning fast enough to move a human and itself in that manner will certainly be enough to cut through human material. A 6 lb RC helicopter [dailymail.co.uk] went clean through a guy's skull.

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      It's not actually for serious police work, it's a spectacle for tourists and a relatively cheap way to do some global advertising. Same as the expensive cop cars, the police don't actually use them to get to crimes at 200 MPH, they just make Dubai look like an ultra-luxury destination awash with money.

  • not bikes AT ALL. Or better yet, heliquad or hellovabike
  • Yeah... that'd be just fine for catching people speeding.

    (eyeroll)

    • Except they say it's for "The police force will use the hoverbike for emergency response scenarios, giving officers the ability to zoom over congested traffic conditions by taking to the air" not for catching speeders.

  • by Neo-Rio-101 ( 700494 ) on Sunday October 15, 2017 @05:47PM (#55374267)

    If you mess with the Police's hoverbike blades, the punishment is getting your hands chopped off.

    • So in other words you get off lighter than most sentences there if you can't pay million dollar fines.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    ... the oil potentates spend endlessly on luxury and toys.

  • by Baron_Yam ( 643147 ) on Sunday October 15, 2017 @05:56PM (#55374285)

    Give me a regular bike where the (ducted / screened) blades fold down for flight when needed, controlled by wire so a computer can keep it level and steady and at a constant altitude so all the rider generally has to worry about is speed and direction.

    That thing, as is, is a stupid waste of money.

  • as someone kissing or holding hands. Yikes, better put a stop to that.

  • by gravewax ( 4772409 ) on Sunday October 15, 2017 @06:08PM (#55374303)
    That thing looks like a death trap, a bit of buffeting causing you to move and you could lose a leg or two not to mention a failure of a single engine would surely be completely catastrophic for the rider
    • That's what I was wondering. With just four engines, probably running at close to max already, loss of one would not seem to be recoverable. Certainly they've thought of that, though.

  • Must be a joke (Score:4, Insightful)

    by markdavis ( 642305 ) on Sunday October 15, 2017 @06:11PM (#55374311)

    >"giving officers the ability to zoom over congested traffic conditions by taking to the air...

    Insanely unsafe to have that thing go OVER cars and people. 4 unprotected rotors? One operator error or equipment malfunction and it can chop people or things to bits or just fall out of the air like a 500 pound rock.

    >"The fully-electric hoverbike stays aloft for about 25 minutes per charge"

    And then you have to get back to the charger, so that is an outward range of what, 12.5 miles?? And it probably can only carry a single person with minimal equipment, right?

    Is this a joke?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      The USA doesn't have the balls to develop new aviation technology. You'd rather cry like babies about health and safety issues.

      That's the joke.

      • You haven't been paying attention to the crazy new flying inventions people have been messing around with, including various versions of flycycles.
        Of course, with so little out there type research being done and publicized by corporations these days, we just hear about the lone inventors and small shops.
        Besides, the US pretty much did 90% of the basic development of that kind of vehicle back in the 50s & 60s. It's just not practical. (Cool doesn't win wars or transport people safely.)
    • I haven't seen even a very crude prototype of this kind without covered blades
    • The rulers of Dubai have a long history of spending their money on things like this. Consider the idea to bring icebergs from the Antarctic as a source of fresh water, then there was the plan to build artificial islands that look like the continents of the world, and many, many more that made for great PR talking points and gets them into the world news but were never finished, and never will be.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Ballistic Parachute

  • by 93 Escort Wagon ( 326346 ) on Sunday October 15, 2017 @06:30PM (#55374355)

    And you all call yourself nerds...

    That hover bike doesn't need lame crap like blade protectors. What it DOES need is a couple of rocket launchers.

  • by future assassin ( 639396 ) on Sunday October 15, 2017 @06:38PM (#55374381) Homepage

    but cut up by the blades.

  • 1 for the original emergency
    1 for the rider of the crashed "hoverbike"
    1 for the poor soul now missing a limb thanks to the crashed "hoverbike"
  • by RightwingNutjob ( 1302813 ) on Sunday October 15, 2017 @07:29PM (#55374531)
    This thing sucks. With the guy sitting up above the plane of the rotor (or hanging down below), the moment of inertia is about as high as it gets, meaning the control authority of the rotors is lower. At the same time, sitting up that high, the lever arm for the aerodynamic force from wind disturbances catching the rider are maximized. Side-to-side the baseline between the rotors is lower than front-to-back. That's why you see him wobble side-to-side when he flew down the parking lot.

    These statements generally hold true for all aircraft, which is why larger aircraft are "safer" from a wind gust perspective than smaller aircraft. So what we've got here is something that's pretty bad from a stability perspective being pitched for an application where agility is necessary and the wind gust environment around them skyscrapers in the desert is potentially quite severe.

    More money than brains.
    • by w3woody ( 44457 )
      Ah, hell; just put the center of mass below the plane of the cuisinart blades so the weight hangs from the blades rather than is balanced on top, and it would help some with stability. I mean, even small low wing aircraft shape the wings as a 'V' with the center of mass below the bulk of the lifting surface, so as to have positive static stability...
      • That's only for aerofoils in forward flight. Above/below makes much less of a difference in slow hover with fixed orientation propellers.
        • by w3woody ( 44457 )
          I guess that's why they put the blades of a helicopter on the bottom...
          • Whop whop whop.

          • Helicopter rotors aren't rigid to the body of the vehicle, there's a little flexibility built into it. That's so that the big spinning gyroscope that is the rotor can keep its orientation. That's why it is more correct to think of it as hanging from its rotor. The quadcoptor rotors are rigid and tilt with the vehicle. It's more like a rocket, like another poster below has said.
    • As a 5" Mini Race Quad builder/pilot, your comment is interesting to me.

      With mini quads, the largest weight is the battery (Typically 170 grams which is 50% of the craft weight). Because the battery has to be easily swapable, it is very often installed on top or on bottom of the frame, which puts it either above or below the center line of the props.

      There is a long standing argument back and forth for which design is better, but because the power to weight ratio is so high and the PID loop in the flight con

      • Moment of inertia goes like size squared. So your 5" mini will be much more agile than the 5 ft whatever in the video. That means it canhave that tight PID loop because the rotational equivalent of the thrust-to-weight ratio (ie torque to moment) is so much higher for the smaller vehicle. Like I said above, the sweetspot for manned vehicles favors larger, because what you lose in control authority you make up for in not needing it since you're so big and apt to stay put in the presence of disturbance. For u
    • You know, the Dubai police also have a fleet of 14 hypercars -- Bugattis, Lambos, McLarens. With your engineer hat, you'd wonder why not pick one and standardize on that?

      Because they don't have them to chase down joy riders in other supercars, as most people assume. The Dubai police has a collection of million dollar cars for the same reason a middle-aged dot-com billionaire does: because they think it makes them look cool. The Dubai police hypercars don't do high speed chases on desert highways, they p

    • by sootman ( 158191 )

      Let's put on my robe and wizard hat. [megalomaniac.com]

      Oops, sorry, wrong window.

  • Anyone for sliced ham?
    • That's not kosher.

      If you are going to make a "cops are pigs" joke then maybe a comment on "when pigs fly" is better.

      I can just think of this hoverbike running out of charge while on the move over a crowded area. It's coming down, maybe with the blades still spinning, and it will make a mess. With enough charge for only 25 minutes it will be too easy to run out on even a short run out to a location and then it will have to find a place to land safely. If the area is too crowded for police on motorcycles,

  • Nice try but I'm still choosing Leader over Mohammed, at least Leader has an amazing spaceship he won't show us.
  • The invention of the hover bike saw a parallel evolution with the rise of splatter proof uniforms, the addition of handles for easy cadaver manipulation was also considered a boon, this was a boom time for the Police force with 20 new recruits required every month to replace the dearly departed.
  • Just like the cops in the movie.
  • Dubai police are planning on significant attrition due to forced disability after many officers accidentally cut their legs off when flying these new devices, which have no propeller guards.

  • Meanwhile, the sci-fi future the US is starting to resemble is Harry Canyon from Heavy Metal.

One man's "magic" is another man's engineering. "Supernatural" is a null word. -- Robert Heinlein

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