Have you ever watched that part of Return of the Jedi where Luke and Leia speed through the forest moon of Endor on an Imperial 74-Z Speed Bike, and thought, I should do that? Well, the day that is a possibility may be coming very soon. The Swedish tech firm Jetson has released a video of their prototype personal flying device, named Jetson ONE. This personal hover bike was majorly inspired by that sequence in the Star Wars film, according to Jetson co-founder Peter Ternstrom. And while Ewoks are nowhere to be seen in the released video, it still is pretty amazing to watch the thing soar around. Check out that video here:
Jetson says they have already taken over a hundred pre-orders for their hover bike. That is not particularly surprising, given the grace with which Jetson ONE exhibits in the video. Each bike will cost approximately $92,000 and the battery has about 20 minutes of flying time. That honestly does not seem like a whole lot of time, but when was the last time you were able to soar through the skies like a majestic bird for any amount of time?
Reportedly, Jetson ONE can fly at speeds up to 60+ miles an hour and can reach an altitude of 1500 feet. It also has a built in Light Detection and Ranging (or LIDAR) system, which allows it to detect the surface of the Earth and preemptively slow down. This presumably will act as a safety precaution for people buzzing around at high speeds in a big drone/hover bike.
Technically, the Jetson ONE hover bike will be classified as an ultralight vehicle (being under approximately 250 lbs). This is important because that variety of airborne vehicle can be flown without any kind of license being legally necessary. Far be it from us to editorialize, but flying around at 60 miles an hour seems very dangerous for anyone, let alone beginners. To Ternstrom’s credit, the plan is for the initial orders of the Jetson ONE to preferably go to licensed pilots.
And of course, that would not be the only risk. As the rate of available high tech devices like hover bikes increases at a rapid rate, unforeseen dangers pop up at a corresponding pace. For example, Tesla’s much publicized “self-driving” cars have allegedly already been hacked and can be remotely controlled by people not in the vehicles. And of course, nations all over the world are working around the clock to develop real-life Terminators.
All that said, the Jetson ONE hover bike does look pretty cool. We may soon be living in a world where the dream of the original Jetsons comes true, and we all make our daily commute in swiftly moving skybound drones. The Jetson ONE is projected to be on the market in 2023, which is only a few years after Back to the Future II predicted all of this. Hopefully by then, all of us currently earthbound commuters will figure out how to safely pilot these things.