Malloy Aeronautics, a UK-based company, has been slowly and publicly developing a hoverbike over the last few years — it even used Kickstarter to raise funds. But it looks like the project is now headed in a new direction, because the US Department of Defense just announced a deal with Malloy to develop the vehicle for the US Army.
The DoD is interested in the technology for a few reasons. For one, it's safe. The hoverbike's rotors are guarded so they won't tear into humans and other objects. It's also a cheaper option than, say, a helicopter. And it's more maneuverable in tight spaces, with options to operate it autonomously or with a human pilot.
From Kickstarter to the US Military-industrial complex
Developers of the hoverbike told Reuters that they consider it ideal for search and rescue or cargo delivery missions. It could also be used for surveillance — plans for the full-scale version include an attachable humanoid figure with a head-mounted camera.
The first step in the deal will be to build a functioning full-scale model, and from there the DoD will reportedly design military-grade prototypes. In the meantime, Malloy Aeronautics will continue to make scale models while developing a commercial version of the hoverbike.