What began with an unsuccessful Kickstarter in 2017 is about to break out as a thrilling new aerial sport later this year, following the announcement by Alauda Aeronautics of the successful completion of its 250th Airspeeder racing eVTOL test flight.
We first got wind of an ambitious plan by Matt Pearson to develop a piloted eVTOL (electric vertical take-off and landing) flyer to race on courses around the globe as part of a thrilling new sport in 2017. Following a proven design path from the automotive world, the high-speed sport would also serve as a technology testbed to move urban air mobility forward.
Alauda Aeronautics and Airspeeder were launched in 2019 and a full-sized flying race car was unveiled in early 2021, followed by flight tests and remotely piloted races over an aerial drag strip. Now the 250th test-flight milestone has been reached.
The Airspeeder flying race car features a carbon fiber body in the style of a 1950s F1 racing car, with eight motors rocking two blades per motor keeping the pilot and craft aloft for a per-charge flight time of up to 20 minutes. A zip from zero to 100 km/h (0-62 mph) in 2.3 seconds and on to a top speed of 160 km/h (99.4 mph) at a racing height of 60 m (196 ft) is sure to make those flight minutes pretty thrilling ones. And a suite of more than 20 sensors helps ensure race safety.
Examples of the kind of next-gen technologies already being developed as part of the Airspeeder program includes the provision of remote connectivity solutions built around 5G in partnership with Telstra and Amazon Web Services that will “deliver safe racing and the ability to broadcast and stream to a global audience in real time.”
LiDAR and radar used to create a “virtual force field” around the aircraft – so that they can safely race “blade-to-blade” without making contact – “will serve as the foundations for the digital solutions that will allow safe autonomous eVTOL passenger flying in urban settings.”
With this test-flight milestone in the bag, the development team is now looking ahead to the first Grand Prix series races later this year.
“In 2019 we set about an ambitious mission to hasten the electric flying car revolution by going racing,” said Airspeeder founder, Matt Pearson. “Since then a remarkable team of designers, engineers, technicians have made giant leaps forward, enabled by our partners, among them some of the most celebrated names in technology, motorsport and even the luxury industry.
“In completing our 250th test we prove that racing is not only a practical and accelerative test-bed and a viable and fast route to commercialization. For an industry predicted to be worth $1.5 trillion by 2040 we are proving the application of this truly world-changing technology. This is just the beginning and we can’t wait to introduce the world to this true next-generation motorsport through 2022.”
Future plans for Alauda include the development of a performance eVTOL based on the Airspeeder technologies, but built for private use.
The video below has more.
Alauda Aeronautics 250th Flight Milestone with IWC
Source: Alauda Aeronautics