A futuristic hovercraft that lets you zip smoothly over rough terrain by flying up to three metres above the ground could be yours in just three years, its maker says.

The Aero-X hover bike, described as a "hovercraft that rides like a motorcycle," can now be reserved for a refundable $5,000 US deposit from manufacturer Aerofex Corp., based in Manhattan Beach, Calif. The company says the current estimated price for the bike is $85,000.


The Aero-X is expected to make its first flight in 2016 and will be delivered to its first customers in 2017, Aerofex says. (Aerofex)

‚ÄčThe first flight of the commercial model is expected in 2016 and the first deliveries a year later, Aerofex said in a recent news release.

According to the company's website, the Aero-X can reach a top speed of 72 kilometres per hour. 
Up to two people can sit on board, and including the passengers, the bike can carry up to 140 kilograms.

The company has been posting videos of its prototype in action since 2012. 

Aerofex says the hover bike is designed to bridge the gap between light aircraft and all-terrain vehicles, making it an affordable alternative to planes and helicopters for surveying, search and rescue, border patrol and disaster relief. The company adds that the hover bike is also intuitive and easy to drive.

"You can learn to operate it safely in just a weekend of training," the website says. "It responds to your movements just as a motorcycle would."

Like hovercraft already on the market, the Aero-X uses fans to force a cushion of air under it and lift it up. Other existing hovercraft barely skim above flat surfaces such as water. The Aero-X flies much higher because unlike other hovercraft, it relies on the surface below for lift only, not stability, Aerofex says.