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Fund a hoverbike, get a quadcopter

Engineer Chris Malloy's Hoverbike has hit Kickstarter for funding -- in the scaled-down form of a drone.

Chris Malloy

Three years ago, engineer Chris Malloy unveiled his Hoverbike: a twin-bladed 'copter that, he claimed, could reach speeds of 173mph (278.4kph) and was built to withstand altitudes of 10,000ft (3km). Understandably, this has been taking quite some time to refine for the consumer market; but Malloy hasn't been sitting idle.

Instead, he has been working on improving his design, adding several changes to make the bike both safer and easier to control -- not the least of which is a quadcopter-like design, utilising four propellers instead of two.

The original Hoverbike. Chris Malloy

"We are in the final construction stages of the latest manned prototype of Hoverbike, and in a few months we will start flight testing. After the successful completion of test flights we will build a final engineering prototype for submission to aviation certification authorities," Malloy said on Kickstarter.

"This all takes a lot of time and money and raising funds to achieve this is what this campaign is all about. We have a proven track record over the years, and our dedication to the Hoverbike development will continue beyond this Kickstarter campaign until we are ready for sale of the manned Hoverbike."

Of course, while your funds will be going into further development of the full-size Hoverbike, it's not nearly ready for market -- at least not as is. But you can still get one by backing the campaign -- in the form of a 1/3-scale drone.

"This drone was originally built as a proof of concept for our latest full-sized Hoverbike prototype. After testing the 1/3rd Hoverbike, we realized that it had lots of features that made it a fantastic drone, not only this -- selling this scale Hoverbike to the public would allow us to raise funds to continue the development of the manned version," Malloy said.

The quadcopter is lightweight, constructed of carbon fibre and coming in at 2.2kg, with a maximum payload capacity of 4.8kg (3.3lb). It also has a special payload bay in the middle that allows you to transport objects or mount cameras, and it folds up to fit neatly into a carrybag. LEDs on the frame allow you to light up the Hoverbike drone for a party in the sky via a programmable microcontroller.

It doesn't, however, come cheap: the bare bones Hoverbike drone is being offered as a reward for a minimum pledge of £595 (around $1,015). If, however, you're a hardcore quadcopter enthusiast, or consider that a worthwhile price to pay for the potential existence of real hoverbikes in the world, head over to the Hoverbike Kickstarter for more info.