Article Type: Innovation
Credit: Sky News
Police in Dubai have begun training on hoverbikes in the hope that they can help first responder units reach areas that would otherwise be difficult to reach.
The futuristic vehicles are intended to be in action by 2020 and are the latest extravagant expense by a force which already boasts a Ferrari and a Lamborghini among its patrol car fleet.
The "electric vertical take-off and landing (EVTOL) bikes" were delivered by a Russian-owned California-based company called Hoversurf, which signed a deal with the force in 2017.
CNN reports that Brigadier Khalid Nasser Alrazooqi, who heads the Dubai police artificial intelligence department, described the EVTOL vehicle as a first responder unit used to access hard to reach areas.
The hoverbike has been designed to meet Federal Aviation Administration guidelines in the US, meaning it does not require a pilot's license to fly, but the $150,000 (£114,000) cost per vehicle is likely to stifle widespread adoption.
In addition to meeting the cost, the company has said it will require purchasers to show that they are capable of driving the bikes.
Hoversurf is also developing a number of other EVTOL vehicles, including a "drone taxi", which it claims can fly a maximum distance of 300km (186 miles) at 250kmph (155mph) for just over an hour.
Earlier this year, Rolls Royce presented its own EVTOL system at the Farnborough International Airshow and said it was searching for partners who could help make the idea a reality.
The British car firm uses gas turbine technology to propel the vehicle with minimal noise and without the need for recharging - a crucially limiting feature for most electric vehicles.
Speaking to CNN, the editor-in-chief of Aerospace magazine, Tim Robinson, described the hoverbike as "pretty limited" in terms of what it could offer police work, but added it "looks bags of fun".
Away from its lavish procurement processes, police in Dubai have previously sparked outrage with several controversial arrests - including of an alleged rape victim for having extramarital sex after she reported the crime.
The woman was released after her family launched an online appeal.
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