MotorBiscuit has been following along the progress of the first flying race car. Now it has made its maiden flight with the next step towards a new form of racing. Australian-based Airspeeder wants to kick off its flying race car series before the end of 2021. Now it is testing the Airspeeder flying car as it moves closer to reality.
What is an Airspeeder race car?
This is more accurately called an eVTOL, or electric vertical take-off and landing vehicle. Eight rotors extended out on four arms, launched the race car to 62 mph in 2.8 seconds. Flying at a bit over 1,500 feet for its first flight it was pilotless.
But the Alauda Aeronautics Mk3 is meant to be flown (or is it driven?) by a real, live person. So it has a driver’s seat and controls, too. Up to four teams will compete based on three different “sky tracks” or sky-based race tracks.
Each team will compete with identical Airspeeders according to digitaltrends. Competition is based on the pilot’s skill and strategy. The initial launch will see the Alaudas flown remotely. The goal is for these to be flown by pilots. The racing will include navigation of “virtual courses with the machines flying blade-to-blade.”
Mid-air collisions are the biggest concerns right now
The biggest concern is mid-air collisions, naturally. For this, Alauda has incorporated lidar and radar tech to detect and avoid other objects. Or, as Alauda says it creates “virtual forcefields” to fend off other flying Airspeeders.
The biggest hurdle right now is what’s available in batteries. As currently tested, the electric Airspeeders can only fly for 15 minutes. So numerous pit stops are needed to swap out power sources. A quick remove and replace system has been devised to get the airspeeders back in the race.
Alauda Aeronautics engineers come with different backgrounds including motorsports and aviation. We understand there are a few automotive engineers as well. Their stated goal is to fastrack eVTOL technology with the racing competition.
Do Airspeeders stand a chance with motorsports declining?
With all motorsports seeing a decline in viewership and participation, it will be interesting to see if this type of racing takes hold. Being technically advanced, dangerous, and completely new, it has all of the hallmarks for compelling interest.
No dates for racing events have been set as of now. As more information becomes available, we’ll look forward to bringing it to you. And we’re hoping that it will make its way to the US so that we can see it live for ourselves.
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