[News] Oh shit! The Fuzz are on Hoverbikes!

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#4
25 minute operating time, 43 mph top speed. Yeah, that's gonna come in super useful.
That's kinda like saying that lifeflight helicopters aren't super useful. For some specialized cases, this could come in handy:

Positive:
- Straight line to incident
- Immediate deployment
- No obstacles/slow traffic/instersections
- 17 mile range
- Prioritizes deployment (pick up or recharging could happen at the incident site)

That said, it's a gimmick right now, and would really only be better than the existing transportation in very specialized cases. Unlike a lifeflight where people are willing to pay $15,000 to preserve their life, people don't pay police directly per trip, and the police would be hard pressed to justify spending a lot of money to reduce their response time by 10% when it's already 8-15 minutes for emergency calls using surface streets.

Further, each hover officer would essentially have to be a pilot, even with advanced vehicles that could fly themselves most of the time. The urban environment is crazy for automated systems of any kind.

If they ever considered implementing something like this, they should get rid of the battery based power and use a gas engine. Once you start carrying real weight you might as well use a real power system, and get faster speeds and longer flight times with an infrastructure that already supports it.

I suspect we'll see a lot more drone use in police work, but not riding them any time soon on a regular basis.
 

figmentPez

Staff member
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#5
Eh, looks pretty unstable to me. Dubai is a pretty windy desert city, with wind direction made that much more unpredictable by tall buildings. I hope these things have one hell of a fly-by-wire system, because they're going to need good computing systems to keep aloft.

And I'm not sure internal combustion wouldn't cause more problems than it solves. The maintenance required on four small internal combustion engines would be crazy. What does happen to this thing when it loses an engine? I assume that like many drones, it will struggle and possibly not crash too badly, but how much control does the pilot have over direction? And what gets chewed up by those remaining blades, spinning at full speed, as it comes down?

Also, your budget concerns probably aren't on the top of the list for Dubai. This is purely an image play. They want to look like the future, and this does that. I imagine we'll never hear about any crashes this bike might have, in that country at least.
 
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#8
I was thinking one engine and a lot of pulleys, but I like your idea better.

--Patrick
Multi rotor helicopters work precisely because you can vary individual propeller speed quickly. Experimenters using several gas engines have found it nearly impossible to maintain level flight the way you expect a drone to, and it's the reason nearly all large helicopters only have one large propeller. The ones with two (such as the sky cranes and military heavy lift choppers) require additional training.

So electronic speed control of three phase motors is the way to go.

Terribly inefficient, but would still be more powerful and long lasting than a battery only solution.

Hybrid Hover Bike![DOUBLEPOST=1508178322,1508178234][/DOUBLEPOST]Oh, but crashing would be spectacular. Better wear a 'chute, 'cause there's no useful autorotationon a multiprop helicopter.
 
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#9
electronic speed control of three phase motors is the way to go.
Terribly inefficient, but would still be more powerful and long lasting than a battery only solution.
Hybrid Hover Bike!
Yep. Add in some supercapacitors and a (MUCH smaller) Li-ion pack or something to even out demand and you're good to go. Frankly I'm surprised the entire automotive industry hasn't switched to this model by now. Traction control/ABS could be SO much smarter, and I'm sure that even with conversion losses, it's probably better from a modular maintenance standpoint to have a tiny, efficient engine (or two! Or more!!!) humming at a constant 5k RPM supplying that power rather than a single large displacement, cumbersome mechanical monster like we have now.
Oh, but crashing would be spectacular. Better wear a 'chute, 'cause there's no useful autorotation on a multiprop helicopter.
I assume that eventually any "drone" that carries personnel will be required to have a minimum of 5 rotors JUST so that single rotor failure will theoretically not cause catastrophic failure, and the vehicle can at least "glide" to ground on the remaining 4.

--Patrick
 
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#10
Oh, but crashing would be spectacular. Better wear a 'chute, 'cause there's no useful autorotationon a multiprop helicopter.
Just keep in mind how HIGH you'd need to be to have the time to open a parachute: http://keisan.casio.com/exec/system/1231475371

You can calculate how much time before you hit the ground. For 140 feet (14 story building) it's only 3 seconds. Good luck REALIZING you're in trouble, bail out, parachute open, AND it slow you enough before you splat.

Some minority of buildings with 100+ stories, ya sure, that's enough time to make a parachute work. But "low" highrise ones? Good f'n luck. There's a reason that BASE jumpers need to open their parachutes nearly instantly.
 

figmentPez

Staff member
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#11
I had been planning to criticize it's carrying capacity, but 600lbs is decent. Especially when I learned the jaws of life are like 50lbs. Though, that said, none of the photos or video show any sort of storage on that thing. I can't see a spot for even a first aid kit, let alone more advanced rescue equipment.

I guess what really gets me is that this is being put out as a Police thing, and not a Fire/Rescue/First Responder thing. You're not going to patrol on this, let alone chase criminals. While I get that the Police often do first responder type stuff, I just can't see any Police duties this thing would excel at, that wouldn't be handled by medical, fire, rescue, etc. if you were specifically summoning them to the scene.
 
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#15
. You're not going to patrol on this, let alone chase criminals.
It depends. You're thinking criminals in cars or on bikes - in a lot of cities, certainly in the Middle East (though, typically, not in Dubai), you're faced with a lot of small, winding streets with stairs. We still have police doing their beats in the street on horseback because a horse can deal with stairs better than a mountain bike. I could see these things going over market stands, skipping stairways, even going up-and-over buildings to cut across switchbacks.

I mean, I don't see these as more useful than a cop on a street bike with drone assistance, in most cases, but I wouldn't say it's necessarily useless.
 
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#17
The army's already using them all over the place - I find the "a taser on a drone is a chilling sight" line to be pretty... reality-blind? Hypocritical? I don't know, but...Ever read interviews with Afghani people or people living in occupied Syria? The sound of a drone there has the same effect as the V-1 whine had back in WWII - people are scared shitless because of the chance of a rocket landing on their doorstep. You know, the image the USA spreads abroad.
That aside, if the intention is to bring the police closer to their communities to strengthen local ties and local involvement - what is what you need - this is completely the wrong way to go about it.
I can see why armed drones might on occasion be useful for a police force, but I can also already see how this migh/will/would devolve into "no-go areas" being patrolled (almost) exclusively by drone. Which will completely feed into the whole dark technofuture suppression of the lower class black people are already afraid of.
To calm things, you need more cops actually walking a beat and interacting with local people, actual neighborhood cops who know the community. Not more people like me sitting behind a desk interpreting camera images and bad audio to try and make things right.
 

figmentPez

Staff member
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#18
It depends. You're thinking criminals in cars or on bikes - in a lot of cities, certainly in the Middle East (though, typically, not in Dubai), you're faced with a lot of small, winding streets with stairs. We still have police doing their beats in the street on horseback because a horse can deal with stairs better than a mountain bike. I could see these things going over market stands, skipping stairways, even going up-and-over buildings to cut across switchbacks.

I mean, I don't see these as more useful than a cop on a street bike with drone assistance, in most cases, but I wouldn't say it's necessarily useless.
25 minutes That's how long you can run this thing. That's why you won't be patrolling on it.

Also, those market stands it's flying over? Packed with people. Those crowds are going to make it very difficult to land and catch the perp. Unless the plan is to just chop up everyone in the rotors and let god sort them out.
 
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