Dubai Police Receive First Delivery of Innovative Hoversurf Drone, Begin Training
Hoversurf showed its rideable drone off in Dubai last October, and now, police are actively training to operate them for routine use.
Last year, California-based startup Hoversurf showed off its Hoverbike drone at the GITEX expo in Dubai. Many remained rationally skeptical at the time when the Dubai Police expressed an interest in adding a fleet of these vehicles to its workforce. According to CNN, however, the department just received its first serial production unit of the S3 2019 Hoverbike and has even begun training its officers to fly it.
Hoverbike’s Chief Operating Officer, Joseph Segura-Conn, explained that being able to both pilot a drone and successfully ride a motorcycle were two valuable skills the Dubai Police should keep in mind when selecting its candidates to operate Hoverbikes.
“Currently we have two crews already training (to pilot the hoverbike) and we’re increasing the numbers,” said the general director of Dubai Police’s artificial intelligence department, Brigadier Khalid Nasser Alrazooqi.
Alrazooqi explained that the electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) vehicle is primarily intended to serve as a first responder tool for locations difficult to access with traditional transportation. What we once considered to be mere futurism with unlikely, actual implementation, is now actively becoming a tangible reality. Alrazooqi said that Dubai Police aims to have a fleet of vehicles ready by 2020.
The startup is currently awaiting feedback, regarding the number of units and proposed timelines.
“They’re going to let us know in the next month or two if they’d like any more,” said Segura-Conn. “If they would like 30 or 40, we’ll make it happen for them.”
In the United States, the Hoverbike has successfully met FAA requirements and is available for purchase. Granted, you’ll have to shell out $150,000 to get your hands on one, but you won’t need a pilot’s license to actually fly it. Segura-Conn does remind potential customers, however, that buyers will be screened to make sure they can safely operate the vehicle. What exactly that entails is not yet certain, but it’s likely that a supervised riding test is part of the process.
Hoversurf is currently looking for an appropriate manufacturing hub for the S3 2019, with Segura-Conn revealing that the company is in contact “with three companies in different locations around the world,” including Dubai. He also said that a bigger, flying two-seater would be ready for public unveiling in “four to five months,” with production models ready for purchase in 2020.
Dubai has become a tech haven for startups and established companies eager to test, promote, and sell their products without some of the regulatory oversight found in Europe or the United States. From passenger drones to aerial deliveries and now, literally, flying police officers, the aerial industry continues expanding beyond its once-simple origins.