By Dennis Chung
Japanese automaker Subaru has filed patent applications for a flying motorcycle. The patents describe a land-and-air vehicle that is essentially a motorcycle enclosed within an aircraft fuselage with vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) capabilities.
Before we get any further: yes, we are aware that today is April 1, and chances are, nobody reading this will believe us. But it’s all true. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office published it on April Fool’s Day, but Subaru’s patent application was originally filed with the agency on July 22, 2020, following an original patent filed in Japan on Sept. 30, 2019. The April 1 publication date is completely incidental. If that’s not convincing enough, this is actually the second patent application Subaru has filed for a flying motorcycle. The previous application was published by the USPTO on March 4, after being filed May 13, 2020 with an original filing in Japan on Aug. 28, 2019. So, no, despite how outrageous it may sound, it’s very true: Subaru is developing a flying motorcycle.
Subaru’s proposed “land-and-air vehicle” doesn’t look like a motorcycle but it very much is.
Both patents describe a similar vehicle, one that can travel on the ground like a motorcycle and, when required, can lift off the ground and fly like an aircraft. The whole thing still sounds like complete science fiction, but a company like Subaru actually has the expertise to turn it into reality. While most people think of it as a car company, Subaru is also heavily involved in the aerospace industry, producing helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles for the Japanese Self Defense Force while also producing parts for Boeing’s 777X airliner.
The more recent of the two patent applications describes how the vehicle converts between air and land modes. As a ground vehicle, the wings are folded up along the side …read more