Airspeeder’s Electric Flying Race Car Takes First Flight

Flying racing cars are the stuff of sci-fi dreams and futuristic video games. People of a certain age might remember the Wipeout series of games that debuted on the very first Playstation console. Most people are probably familiar with podracing as a sport that takes place in the Star Wars universe. Good now Airspeeder make those wonderful fever dreams come true with his flying racing car and racing series.

The brainchild of entrepreneur Matthew Pearson, Airspeeder is the motorsport series created to pilot the flying cars made by Alauda. Airspeeder and Alauda are two separate companies created by Pearson. Alauda is the production wing that designs and builds the vehicles, while Airspeeder is the company that will organize the races and organize the series.

The eVTOL that will be used in the races is the Alauda Mk3, and it is this vehicle that recently made its first test flight in a desert in South Australia. If you think the Mk3 will be some sort of pedestrian-paced drone, you’re wrong. It can reach a speed of 62 mph (100 km/h) in just 2.8 seconds and has a top speed of 124 mph (200 km/h). The maximum altitude at which the craft will be able to fly is 1,640 feet.

At the moment, the flights are unmanned, with the vehicles being piloted remotely. Airspeeder brought in people from aviation, esports, and motorsports to control the Mk3s. Taking place in the air, it is of course impossible to have a traditionally visible race track. Instead, pilots will see the racetrack through the use of augmented reality sky-tracks. The public will be able to see the same track in augmented reality and will be able to watch the races via digital streams. Manned races are expected to take place by 2022.

As with all electric aero vehicles, battery life is a challenge, especially with a more capable eVTOL like the Mk3. The batteries are estimated to have 15 minutes of charge available before they need to be swapped out. To circumvent this problem, the Mk3 is equipped with a battery which can be replaced in approximately 20 seconds. Races are offered to last 45 minutes, which means two battery changes per race. A regular Formula 1 pit stop lasts about a minute, for comparison.

The racing series will be called EXA, and Pearson apparently read our minds with his statement, “EXA delivers on the promise of a future first shown in science fiction. We’re proud to present a sport that redefines what humans and machines can achieve together. Yes, this is the stuff of science fiction come true. After the success of Formula E, it will be interesting to see if this new series will spread in the same way. We can’t wait to take a seat at the edge of heaven.

Image courtesy of Airspeeder

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