R/C aircraft company developing personal electric helicopter

Hirobo is a Japanese company that's best known for its line of smallish remote control helicopters. So that's nice. But now, the company is thinking bigger. Not a lot bigger, but just big enough to carry you to work and back every day in a one-seater coaxial personal microhelicopter.

Called the HX-1, Hirobo's helicopter can hoist a single person into the air at speeds of over 60 mph for up to 30 minutes at a stretch. It's completely electric, which makes it quiet enough that you can hold a conversation with your nonexistent passenger, and might even be light enough that wannabe aviators won't need a pilot's license to fly it, which is either a wonderful or terrible thing.

hiro_heli2.jpg

The HX-1 is a serious investment for Hirobo, to the tune of $125 million over the next seven years, with the first test flight taking place sometime in 2013. That massive gap (the commercial rollout is scheduled for 2021) is primarily due to regulatory hurdles, but we'd like to think that it's enough time for us to convince Hirobo that adding a ballistic parachute is probably a smart idea. Oh, and while you're at it, Hirobo: asking $375,000 for one of these things is absolutely nutballs, since for that price, you can go buy yourself three jetpacks with enough left over for a hefty life insurance policy.

Response, via OhGizmo

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