Kirby - The world's first true Hoverbike (Canceled)
To bridge the gap between high-performance and sustainability
Kirby - The world's first true Hoverbike (Canceled)
To bridge the gap between high-performance and sustainability
Featured on EvNerds, BikeIt, Melotronic!
We are the ROSA Motor Company, the only motor vehicle manufacturer actively building hover vehicles with the intent to place them cheaply in the hands of the general public for street use. This campaign was created to fund construction of our next-generation hoverbike, Kirby. As of November 2018 we have successfully constructed and tested a full-scale manned hoverbike; which we hope to succeed with this vastly more advanced version closer to the mass-releasable state.
The Pinnacle of Performance
The Hoverbike we envision down the line for mass-market utilizes existing science to bridge the gap between sustainability and high-performance. To help imagine how it works, first picture a traditional superbike. Below is the Ducati 1299 Superleggera, an intensely fast and lightweight racing motorcycle.
The first difference introduced with the Hoverbike is that the traditional Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) and its auxiliary hardware is removed and replaced with a 100% Electric Drivetrain. By using a powerful electric motor, we provide the vehicle more torque and instantaneous acceleration than even the most powerful 1000cc motorcycles while compactifying the drivetrain. However, this is not the only innovation. Both wheels sit on a Hydraulic Suspension, which retracts up into the body of the vehicle when the driver enters hover.
Hover is a feature exclusive to our vehicles, which allows them to travel above the ground at no point in contact with it. In this state, several Hover Engines propel the vehicle forward in flight (these are discussed more below). Free of friction from the road, these engines produce acceleration at blisteringly high power-weight and efficiency ratios. At these ratios, acceleration takes place much easier and requires less energy. When the rider finishes their flight in hover, the wheels extend back out while the drivetrain spins them up to speed, where it lands and drives again as a traditional motorcycle.
The practical and foreseeable applications for this vehicle architecture are endless - hover vehicles could be used to drastically reduce the travel time spent on highways, to deliver aid to disaster areas faster (manned or unmanned), for quicker search and rescue operations, etc. It could make our transportation networks invulnerable to natural disasters such as landslides, floods or earthquakes, since the vehicle will not need to contact the ground. Many causes of automobile accidents could be eliminated, such as poorly paved roads, hydroplaning, or loss of traction. For highway applications in which a driver is cruising in hover (at faster speeds), travel times between major US cities reduced in calculation as much as 8X. Transit from Los Angeles to NYC was estimated to take place in under 12 hours.
The EMS and Military applications are plentiful. Our hover platform would enable dramatically faster and more efficient response ability from fire, medical, police, etc. The EMS vehicle will be able to bypass common bottlenecks in response such as requiring and waiting for cars to pull off on to the side of the road to clear a path, obstructed pathways, and traffic constraints. An EMS-spec hoverbike, in terms of...
Fire, would be able to respond quicker to emergencies as well as deliver vital assistance in either a manned or unmanned state. It could deliver first responders, return victims, deliver large amounts of cargo or extinguishment, and conduct search/rescue operations in a more capable manner. Also, first responders may avoid much risk by traveling above the ground. An EMS Firebike could be equipped not only with tank reserves or hook-up hardware to extinguishment substance, but could also contain first responder gear. The EMS Firebike could serve the purpose of a single fire engine at a fraction of the cost and size. It would allow for many more response vehicles and larger response capability per station. This is a very lucrative opportunity for the application of our technology, offering much streamlined response.
Medical, would be able to respond quicker to emergencies as well as deliver vital assistance in either a manned or unmanned state. It could deliver first responders, return victims, deliver large amounts of cargo or medical equipment, and transfer operations in a more capable manner. Victims can be received and delivered to hospitals or medical facilities in a significantly faster time-frame than a road-driven ambulance, potentially completing an origin-site response-origin transfer in minutes. An EMS Medibike could be equipped not only with medical or communication hardware, but could also contain first responder gear. The EMS Medibike could eliminate the need for air-lift response and some ambulance-related responses at a fraction of the cost and size. It would allow for many more response vehicles and larger response capability per facility. This is a potentially groundbreaking application for our technology, the EMS Medibike could be a potentially life-saving vehicle.
Police, would be able to respond quicker to incidents as well as perform traffic assistance in a streamlined and more capable manner. It could deliver officers or large amounts of cargo, as well as allow for quicker engagement. A Police Squadbike could be equipped not only with police or communication hardware, but could also contain equipment. The Squadbike could eliminate the need for air, high-speed, or patrol response vehicles at a fraction of the cost and size. It would allow for many more response vehicles and larger response capability per facility. This is a lucrative opportunity for the application of our technology, offering much streamlined response.
For a Military application, Our hover platform would enable dramatically faster, capable, and low-profile military transport of both cargo and human beings. The Military vehicle will be able to bypass common bottlenecks in transport such as obstructed pathways, short time-frames or long distances, efficiency and reliance on transporting fuels, hostile environments, etc. A Military-spec hoverbike would be able to transport cargo or human beings in either a manned or unmanned state. It could deliver payloads, avoiding much risk by traveling above the ground and doing so quicker. A Military Hoverbike could be equipped not only with gear and payload, but also with armor. The Military Hoverbike could serve the purpose of light-duty and recon vehicles at a fraction of the cost and size. It would allow for many more vehicles and much increased capability at the same price point. This is a very lucrative opportunity for the application of our technology, offering much streamlined response.
We mention all of these potential applications here now, to show the wide range of areas our completed vehicle would be able to serve after being refined to market.
Who We Are
Our team is expected to think outside of industry norms. We know our trades well, and are driven by the desire to create the greatest superbike on the planet. Inspired by science fiction films, we want to build a vehicle free of limitation - one which is unparalleled and more capable than any that has come before it. Our bike, the first of its kind capable for hover flight, not only is a plug-in hybrid, but can also outrace the fastest superbike on the planet by a top speed factor of two. My name is Christian A. LaRosa, and I founded ROSA Motor Company with the belief that an overwhelming majority of 'Hoverbikes' emerging in the market suffered from one of three crippling factors. Either they used large exterior propellors for lift (an incredibly dangerous and disruptive method), were extraordinarily expensive (some costing hundreds of thousands), or were not easily integratable in society - In some cases all of these factors were in play. Frustrated with the lack of design innovation and focus on the aspects that matter, I crafted an original design that completes the entire practical picture. Safety-Optimized, Affordable, Mass-market capable, and not creating a helicopter-like wake. As to my personal background, I am a student of Aerospace Engineering from Arizona State University, involved with Daedalus Astronautics as well as the Sun Devil Satellite Laboratory (SDSL). While at Daedalus, I assist development of competition-spec hybrid propellant rocket systems targeting speeds of Mach 2 and excess of 10,000 ft altitude; while at the SDSL I assist a small team to develop a Pulsed-Plasma Thruster (PPT). I am multilingual (English, Chinese, Italian, and Russian), and have background in rocket propulsion, orbital mechanics, human systems, and magnetic engineering. After spending months living in Italy previously in search of inspiration for developing a hoverbike, It occurred to me that art and beauty is as important to design as function. A very core belief at my company is that doing something, and doing it beautifully, are two very different things.
Evolution to Date
Founded in April 2017, immediately after returning from Italy and visiting the top names in superbike design, Christian founded the ROSA Motor Company - with the intent of bringing the Hoverbike to life once and for all. After filing his intellectual property, he assembled a team to construct a first iteration. This first iteration, known internally as Beatrice, was to prove the concept that a practical hoverbike at traditional scale could be built and a market existed for one. Completed in November 2018, Protobike 1 was able to achieve stationary hover of several inches above the ground using a high-power magnetic suspension. However, the 'end-game' hoverbike we hope to build will be drivable and will not need magnetism for the majority of hover. This will be standard from our new hoverbike, Kirby, onward.
Here is a simple teaser video we had made using Protobike 1:
Named Beatrice, Protobike 1 is the first prototype we had constructed. Professionally machined and completed in November 2018, it was designed to test several fundamental principles of how our end-goal systems may work. Preceded by six months of effort, the testing that Beatrice allowed us to engage in verified that:
- Elimination of rotors reduces barriers to adoption and creates a safer vehicle
- Removal of ground friction has an unquestionable effect on efficiency
- Our Hoverbike can be built to the same size/scale as a motorcycle
- There exists room for wheel well hydraulics and engines after removal of the ICE Column and replacement with an electric drivetrain
- Weight targets could be hit with core systems integrated, with a total dry weight of 240-400 lbs
- There is a high level of confidence maintained in riders seated on a flying vehicle
- The hoverbike's more 'aggressive' seating position is comfortable
- Rider reactions are overwhelmingly positive and optimistic
- ...among other discoveries!
After Hoverbike videos from around the world began to go viral, I noticed the same responses consistently being written in comments. "It's all fun and games until you get a leg chopped off", "Looks like a really big guillotine", "What an elegant amputation machine". That is because large exterior rotors as a form of lift for a vehicle where the rider's body is exposed is inherently flawed. With abundant safety issues, shooting for street legality becomes incredibly hard - and these vehicles will forever remain outside of reach. Aside from that, "I can't pay $150,000 for this" continues to echo since the average consumer does not have that kind of money to spend on a vehicle. ROSA designs their vehicles with the intent to place them in the hands of the everyman, at the same price point as today's motorcycles. As a result, Protobike 1 was designed in accordance with our company's driving scientific principles - practicality and affordability.
After completing Protobike 1, we have confirmed many engineering questions and gained a more thorough understanding of what we're dealing with. The next step is to advance towards a mass-market Hoverbike by creating a more advanced prototype. For this Protobike 2, we plan to integrate an electric drivetrain, hover engines, flight control, hydraulics, and electronics among other components such as fairings (finally!). Protobike 2 will be a fully driveable Hoverbike, and a giant leap towards mass-market.
Here is shown the evolution of Protobike 2's design:
Named Kirby, Protobike 2 is a brand new prototype vehicle which integrates the following:
- Electric Drivetrain w/Hydraulic Suspension - We plan to integrate an electric motor, delivering more torque and off-the-line acceleration than the most powerful 1000cc sport bikes in production - along with the benefit of a more compact powerplant. Also, use of a hydraulic suspension will allow the wheels to retract into and extend out of the body of the vehicle. This is to reduce drag and streamline aerodynamics of the vehicle when in flight. We plan to separate the suspension from the steering column and braking system by use of electronically-assisted hub-center steering, made popular by the Bimota Tesi. The drivetrain incorporates lightweight, supersport class elements - such as Marchesini magnesium wheels wrapped in Pirelli tires, Brembo brakes, purpose-built Lithium-Ion Battery Packs, etc.
- Hover Engines & Assemblies - Four safely integrated, high power turbine engines will propel the vehicle forward when wheels are no longer in contact with the ground. They will each be equipped with fuel systems, extinguishers, electronic controllers, and afterburners. The flight engines are fueled by Diesel/Kerosene/Jet A, since battery technology is currently not energy-dense or lightweight enough to deliver comparable thrust. In future models, we plan on revisiting the possibility of fully-electric flight engines. We have calculated engine activation speed to be around 30-40mph, from where the engines can throttle up to a whopping 350 lb-ft of thrust. Liftoff will take place around 75-90 mph, where the vehicle will accelerate at the rate of 1G. We expect the top speed to be several hundred miles per hour.
- Body, Flight Control Surfaces, Dashboard & Electronics - We plan to integrate an entire painted body, as well as motor driven wheel doors, flight control actuators, head/taillights, etc. We hope to introduce a next-generation dashboard that forms a vibrant control arc in the rider's view. This also includes the vehicle's computer, sensors, and electronic controllers.
This vehicle, when done, will be a drivable and mature Hoverbike. It is intended to be the precursor to a releasable iteration. Weight is a prime factor in the design of this vehicle. We are working for a dry weight of between 240 and 400 lbs. It may be possible to eliminate the need for a pilot's license and aircraft registration under 'Ultralight' classification.
The Finish Line
After completing or during construction of Protobike 2, we hope to gain institutional investment in order to create a final refined model we could mass-produce and bring to market. We have been waiting for a real Hoverbike for a long time. I myself am a huge fan of science fiction movies like Star Wars or Back to the Future, and remember thinking ... WOW! Why don't we have that yet? I personally define that point of mass release as nothing less than releasing a product that truly lives up to the hype instilled decades ago.
Month: 0 (January)
- Kickstarter Finish
- Receive Payment From Kickstarter
- Place Orders for Parts & Products
Month: 1 (February)
- QA & Finalize Design
- Acquire Vehicle Hardware
- Begin Frame Construction
- Package Icon & ROSA Standard Packages
- Ship Packages as completed
Month: 2 (March)
- Finish Frame Construction
- Install Drivetrain
Month: 3 (April)
- Finish Installing Drivetrain
- Build and Test Engines
Month: 4 (May)
- Install Engines
- Test Drivetrain + Engines
Month: 5 (June)
- Build & Install Dashboard/Electronics
- Build & Install Body
Month: 6 (July)
- Finish building Body
- Paint Vehicle
- Test Vehicle
- Package Tomorrow & Chrome Packages
Month: 7 (August)
- Ship Tomorrow & Chrome Packages
- Test Vehicle
- Assess and Advance
As for rewards, ALL backer levels will receive a plush toy of our company mascot - the Cheetah! The Cheetah is the fastest land animal in the world, and we have also modeled parts of our vehicle based on the animal's look. We intend to, upon release of our public vehicle, donate a portion of proceeds to wildlife conservation in order to help badly endangered animals such as the Cheetah. Our first backer tier is this Icon Package.
ALL backer levels will also have their name listed on the backer section of rosamotors.com. In our ROSA Standard Package, we will include a KICKSTARTER only signed 'Vehicle Team' sweatshirt in white, as well as a signed poster. Also, we will 3D print a scale model of our Protobike 2 (which would look great on your desk or table!) and give exclusive access to our Development Video Diary. In this behind-the-scenes section, you can follow construction of Protobike 2 and be able to see it take shape live.
Starting in our ROSA Tomorrow Package, you will receive a large 1/10 scale model of Protobike 2 with several new stylistic elements. We will include your name or an accepted quote into the model. The next new addition is a limited edition Photobook of the vehicle, construction, concept art, sketches, and historical images. Truly a piece to own, it will remind you of where the idea of the Hoverbike began and how far we have come today. Also, you will receive the 'Black Key'. This key is a totally blacked out and futuristic Hoverbike Key which doesn't actually belong to a vehicle, but will remind you that the time is nearly here. It is accompanied by its own display case. In addition, you will receive a personal Video Thank You message from our founding team as well as input into aspects of the vehicle's construction. We will invite design choices from our input members, on topics such as paint schemes, seating positions, fascia design, wheel & tire options, headlight & taillight looks, etc. This is a chance to get involved in the creative process.
Our ROSA Chrome Package is where things get really interesting. To begin, all below goes without saying. However, your signed materials will now be signed by the entire vehicle team and we will video call you. On top of that, you'll receive three special chrome-painted models (1/10 Scale Vehicle, Forest with speeding Hoverbike, Row of Helmets) and a collection of handwritten sketches from the design and manufacturing process. Also, we will laser-engrave your name on Protobike 2 as well as give you a piece of historic Protobike 1 to own.
The ROSA Destiny Experience is an extraordinary opportunity offered as our highest tier. It includes the Chrome Package, complimentary. In addition, we will fly you out upon completion of the hoverbike where you will have the chance to sit on it as well as historic Protobike 1 - with a photographer for your social media posts. We may permit a ride/flight depending on conditions at the time of your visit. You will be able to feel the evolution from past to present as well as peek into the future. We will provide airfare/hotel for you and a friend for a two day stay, as well as a dinner and a movie with the founders (Back to the Future: Part II). On top of all that, you will leave with a mystery gift bag! NOTE: This Reward is for US Backers only.
In regards to rewards - Name listings on rosamotors.com, Dev Video Diary Access Keys, Video Thank You Messages, and Video Calls will be distributed upon completion of the campaign.
Regarding personalized items, we will contact you 1-2 weeks before shipment of your package. In the case of laser engraving or other top-tier reward, we will contact you to coordinate.
For more information, visit us at rosamotors.com
Risks and challenges
We've worked extremely hard to bring this product to life, however with any project there are some risks that we would like to mitigate as best as possible.
Manufacturing. We will be using several suppliers and outlets for materials as well as talented labor for vehicle construction. As a result of coordinating the grandiose effort of building a superbike, we run the risk of something going wrong. This may come in the form of a part being delayed or a piece not fitting in its desired spot. Whatever the problem, we hope to resolve issues quickly and cleanly if they arise.
Timeline. While we are confident in our timelines, they can never be predicted with 100% accuracy. However, our experience and history thus far with logistics planning should allow us to smoothly handle timing the operation to a good margin. We have built in extra time into our timeline for any unexpected delays. Should any issue arise, we will be the first to notify our backers.
We don’t invite you to just be a backer. We invite you to be a proud member of the movement that it will begin. And, most importantly, we want you to have peace of mind. That’s why we promise to maintain full transparency at all times and take consideration from not some, but all of our backers.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Environmental commitmentsVisit our Environmental Resources Center to learn how Kickstarter encourages sustainable practices.
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