Anyone familiar with the 1989 film “Back to the Future Part II” knows we were supposed to be riding hoverboards by now. I am talking about boards that actually levitate and skim along above obstacles, not the latest wheeled hoverboards that do not actually hover — but reportedly do occasionally catch fire.
While they might be a year or so late, the real things are coming — and they are not cheap.
Arca Space, a company based in New Mexico, is taking orders for the ArcaBoard a flying board powered by 36 electric motors driving small fans that provide lift. The company said it plans to begin shipping the boards in April for $19,900 each.
The passenger stands on top of the ArcaBoard and uses a smartphone to program the vehicle for automated maneuvering and navigation. The board has a stabilization system that maintains safe, level flight. More adventurous riders can turn off the stabilization system and control the board with body movements, sort of like surfing with an engine instead of waves.
The ArcaBoard is 57 inches long, 30 inches wide, 6 inches thick and weighs 180 pounds, so you will not be carrying it around under your arm like a skateboard. The board’s motors put out 272 horsepower and about 430 pounds of thrust, Arca says, and can carry a rider weighing as much as 243 pounds. It flies about a foot above the ground for six minutes between battery charges. Recharging the battery takes six hours using the standard plug-in charger, but Arca also sells a $4,500 fast charger called the ArcaDock can have the board ready to fly again in 35 minutes.
Omni Hoverboards, a Canadian company that has demonstrated its Mark—1 prototype, is not quite ready for retail sales yet. But its board did set a Guinness World Record for the longest distance traveled by a hoverboard: 905 feet and 2 inches.