Back in November 2018, the Dubai police force officially got its hands on the Hoversurf S3 hoverbike, a rideable quad-rotor drone built by Russian company Hoversurf. You might think that, by now, the Dubai police department would have an entire squad of hoverbike-riding cops patrolling the streets of the United Arab Emirates city. But, as you can see from the disastrous test flight video featured above, they're not really even past the testing phase.
The video shows a Dubai police officer getting as high as around 100 feet on the hoverbike, before losing control and crashing to the ground. The scary part comes when the bike violently flips over top of the operator, almost causing the guy to be chopped up by the propeller blades in the process. Surprisingly, the cop walked away without any injuries.
In response to the test flight, Hoversurf claimed in the video's description (which has since been removed from the official company page, but was also uploaded on YouTube channel Videokings) that the hoverbike crash was caused by a mechanical failure. According to Hoversurf's website, the S3's maximum safe operating altitude is 16 feet, though it's believed that a malfunction in the hoverbike's operating systems led to the sudden, and ridiculously unsafe, rise in altitude.
"All safety systems worked well, and the pilot was not injured," Hoversurf said in an official statement. "Safety is our main concern. It is thanks to such incidents that our designs are becoming more safe."
Thanks to such incidents? You mean the sort of "incidents" where you almost getting diced up like a celery stalk by propeller blades? Doesn't sound like anything you should really be thankful for.
In any case, it sounds like Hoversurf is definitely still very much in the experimental phase with its hoverbike, and I, for one, do not envy any of the Dubai police officers who have to test it out.
This post was originally published on June 10, 2020.