A Japanese company called Hirobo has announced their plans to launch a one-man helicopter that runs on batteries. The counter-rotating flying vehicle can be remote operated or flown by a pilot, and reaches speeds of 62mph for up to 30 minutes. The reason you’d want to be able to remote control it is in cases of rescue operations where you could just fly it up to the person in need, have them hop on, and bring them back to safety. The silent operation of the electric motor would also help locate a person hypothetically crying out for help.
The HX-1 is an ambitious and costly project. $125 million will have been poured into it by the time its 2021 rollout comes about. The reason for the long development time? Mostly regulatory, according to the president of the RC helicopter manufacturer, Kotaro Matsuzaka. But it’s not a simple concept either as a working prototype is slated for testing in early 2013. Should things go as planned, an unmanned version would cost 10,000,000 yen (US$125,000) while the one-seater would fetch three times as much.