Detroit - A hoverbike that the Japanese manufacturers plan to launch in the United States next year made its US debut at the Detroit Auto Show last week, drawing perhaps inevitable comparisons to the speeder bikes of "Star Wars."
The Xturismo hoverbike is made by Japanese startup Aerwins Technologies and can fly for 40 minutes, reaching speeds of up to 100km/h.
"I feel like I'm literally 15 years old and I just got out of 'Star Wars' and jumped on their bike," said Thad Szott, co-chair of the motor show after taking a test drive - or, perhaps, a test hover. "I mean, it's awesome! Of course, you have a little apprehension, but I was just so amped. I literally had goosebumps and feel like a little kid."
The hoverbike is already on sale in Japan, and Shuhei Komatsu, founder and CEO of Aerwins, said plans were underway to sell a smaller version in the United States in 2023.
The price? A galactic $777 000 (R13.7 million) - although Komatsu said the company hopes to get the cost down to $50 000 (R885 000) for a smaller, electric model by 2025.
Earlier this month, Aaerwins said it was looking to list on the NASDAQ via a merger with a special acquisition company that values it at $600 million.