You Can Fly a Real Hoverboard by Spring 2016
The term “hoverboard” has been thrown around a lot lately. The popular two-wheeled boards have flown off store shelves this season, but they don’t exactly “hover,” per se, and a number have caught fire while charging. Not the most auspicious of starts. For those looking to actually defy gravity’s pull, the hoverboard you may want to check out is this—the ArcaBoard, built by the Arca Space Corporation of Las Cruces, New Mexico. Measuring over four feet long and two and a half feet wide, the ArcaBoard can accommodate one rider and lift them up to a foot off the ground thanks to 36 individual electric ducted fans built into its composite structure. At full tilt, Arca says the hoverboard will notch speeds of 12.5 mph, capable over asphalt, grass, dirt, or even water. My, the future looks bright. RELATED: See More Photos of the ArcaBoard Hoverboard
Power for the hoverboard comes from a bank of lithium polymer batteries, cached along the craft’s centerline, which allow the ArcaBoard to crank out 272 horsepower and lift up to 243 pounds of weight. Each ducted fan draws power from its own battery pack, which the company says helps keep riders safe while aloft in case any individual fans lose power.
From the test flight promotional video below, it doesn’t look like the ArcaBoard is the easiest thing to pilot. The hoverboard features onboard sensors to self-stabilize and can be controlled via smartphone. But once riders get the hang of it, they can eventually use their bodyweight to maneuver the craft.
So how long does it fly? The company says six minutes. Recharging can take up to six hours, however the firm does offer a fast-charge docking station that can crank the batteries back up in a brief 35 minutes.
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Beyond designing hoverboards, Arca has been a player in the commercial aerospace field, creating a number of solar balloons, suborbital rockets, and an “AirStrato” unmanned aerial vehicle. The ArcaBoard marks a big step towards consumer products, however that doesn’t mean it’s cheap.
Interested shoppers can pre-order an ArcaBoard now, which retails for a formidable $19,900. The fast-charging dock costs an extra $4,500. For now, color options remain beige, green, and blue, and the first pre-orders are said to ship out on April 15, 2016.
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