The last few times we reported on Dubai’s drone-related advancements, they all seemed like logical next steps. We had Nokia testing an air traffic management system, a coffee company delivering beverages to beachgoers on a local beach, and Dubai’s Crown Prince Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed riding on a passenger drone as a show of faith and support. This most recent announcement, however, is slightly harder to believe and a bit more dystopian. Dubai Police intends to add flying hoverbike drones to its fleet of law enforcing officers.
Announced at the largest tech expo in the region, GITEX, the hoverbike uses electric power, and can travel at up to 43 miles per hour with a pilot commandeering it. According to New Atlas, the maximum altitude is fairly limited at 16 feet. Unmanned, the drone can reach speeds nearing 62 mph. Regarding flight times, this drone requires a three-hour charge to run for about 20 to 25 minutes. Fortunately, its batteries can easily be swapped out, foregoing any potential charge-related pitstops.
According to New Atlas, this is largely a public relations stunt. Police officers flying down the streets, chasing suspects on flying robots does seem a little too futuristic for 2017. Surely, a traditional high-speed automobile is far more familiar and efficient in getting high-octane police work done.
Honestly, it seems fairly ludicrous to propose having a police squadron ride these largely-unsafe drones through the city, endangering civilians around them, and not even increasing the efficiency of valuable law enforcement. In other words, how does a flying drone help a cop do his job?
The hoverbikes are based on the Russian Hoversurf Scorpion 3 drone, which was unveiled earlier this year, notes New Atlas. Gulf News interviewed a Dubai Police representative who said that the intention here is to firstly focus on further testing, and eventually create an actual drone division utilizing this hoverbike in manned and unmanned police work.
Let’s have a look at this thing in action (courtesy of Hoversurf), shall we?
Now, obviously some drone fans are extremely excited that rideable drones exist to begin with. This is the sort of futuristic, science-fiction-based machinery that many of us could only dream of as children of the 1980s, so it's pretty cool to see. However, tech like this needs to be applied practically, logically, and safely. We can't just give a squad of police officers a fleet of high-powered motorcycles for of the sky, and expect crime to drop, or whatever their actual goals here are. Fortunately, further testing is expected before these hoverbikes are actually incorporated into any police department. That's a good start.