Airspeeder is an electric flying race car racing series based in London, United Kingdom. Designed to be crewed by human pilots, the aircraft uses electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) technology.
The concept for a human-piloted, flying vehicle racing series was developed by Alauda Aeronautics CEO, Matt Pearson.
The company developed a prototype-an eVTOL quadcopter christened as the “Alauda Mark I Airspeeder”, a version of which was displayed at the 2018 Australian Grand Prix.
Its successor- the updated Airspeeder Mk2, took part in a remotely-piloted exhibition at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in 2019.
The first successful test flight of a craft Alauda intended to use for racing was conducted in June 2021, which was an Airspeeder Mk3 octocopter craft.
The Airspeeder Mk3 (Tech and specs)
Reportedly, Alauda Aeronautics is currently building several unmanned identical racing vehicles at its technical headquarters in Adelaide, South Australia, that will be supplied to teams for the first races around electronically governed courses.
The flight of the Alauda Mk3 is a precursor to the Airspeeder EXA series of three unmanned flying car races which were set to happen globally last year.
The unveiling of the world’s first full-sized electric flying racing car is a landmark moment in the dawn of a new mobility revolution. It is competition that drives progress and our racing series is hastening the arrival of technology that will transform clean-air passenger transport, logistics and even advanced air mobility for medical applications. The world’s first electric flying car races will take place this year and will be the most exciting and progressive motorsport on the planetsaid Pearson- Alauda’s founder during the Mk3’s launch event in 2021
Inspired by designs of racing cars from the 50s and 60s, and in what looks like a hybrid between a drone and a high-performance red bull aerobatic plane, the small, sleek, yet manoeuvrable Airspeeder Mk3 features a 96 kW electric powertrain producing 429 BHP- very much comparable to what an Audi SQ7 can produce.
Weighing in at only 280 pounds (unladen), the eVTOL aircraft has a maximum take-off weight of 176 lbs (80 kg), thereby making it ready for future manned races.
The aerial supercar has a maximum ceiling of 1,640 feet (500 meters) and can easily throttle from 0-62 miles per hour (100 kilometres per hour) in just 2.8 seconds.
The Mk3 vehicle is also said to have a thrust-to-weight ratio of 3.5- a figure that is claimed to be higher than an F-15E Strike Eagle fighter jet.
It will also feature both-LiDar and radar collision avoidance systems that will allow for close, “ultimately safe racing”.
Extensive carbon-fibre technology has been used to design its sleek, monocoque body.
A “slide-and-lock” battery removal and replacement system are also integrated into the system which will allow for rapid pit stops. Apparently, the teams could sway this to their advantage by selecting from an array of different battery sizes, weights and outputs available.
They are intended to serve as a flying testbed that will gather data on vehicle dynamics, performance, safety and powertrain technology to inform the design and specs of the upcoming manned Mk4 racers, so pilots will control the unmanned flyers remotely.
And that’s not all. The company, reportedly, also expect the first manned Airspeeder Mk4 to be introduced sometime this year. Although still in its infancy, current specs show a top speed of 160 km/h (100 mph) and zero to 100 km/h (62 mph) acceleration in 2.3 seconds.
Touted to fly for up to 20 minutes per battery at up to 60 m (196 ft) above the ground, the aerial Superbird will also feature eight broadcast cameras onboard, as well as 22 sensors including LiDAR, radar and an altimeter.