Australia Just Hosted the World’s First Drag Race Between Two Flying Cars
Airspeeder, the startup that is on course to kickstart a flying car racing series, successfully completed its first drag race in Southern Australia, a press statement from the company reveals.
For the race, two teams from Alauda Aeronautics sent a drone-like flying car shooting down a short stretch of Southern Australia's deserts. Airspeeder conducted its first successful flight test on June 17. At the time, the company announced that it would start a remote racing series, called EXA, this year before starting its eVTOL Grand Prix piloted racing series in 2022.
We are on the verge of 'motorsport and mobility history'
Airspeeder's parent company Alauda Aeronautics is the engineering brain behind the new flying car racing series. The Beverley, Australia-based company developed the eVTOL "Speeders" that will participate in the flying car races.
In Airspeeder's statement Matt Pearson, who is CEO and founder of both Alauda and Airspeeder, said "we are on the cusp of making motorsport and mobility history with the world's first electric flying car races. This test race provides the world a glimpse at the next generation of motorsport and mobility. This first test drag-race is a major moment in the creation of our sport and a giant leap forward for the development of electric flying cars."
Airspeeder's piloted MK3 "Speeder" will weigh only 220 lb (100 kg) and will come with a 96 kW electric powertrain, allowing it to reach top speeds of 125 mph (201 km/h). In September last year, Airspeeder announced it was partnering with Acronis to develop LiDAR and Machine Vision-enabled "virtual force fields," which will eventually be used as a safety feature for its human-piloted series.
'Nothing accelerates technological progress like sporting competition'
In its statement, flying car series organizer said it "is built on the philosophy that nothing accelerates technical progress like sporting competition." As such, it believes its new racing series will play "the same role the pioneers of Formula One did nearly a century ago in driving technical development and building public acceptance for a new mobility revolution."
So Airspeeder is positioning itself as a testing bed for technologies that will help boost the eVTOL sector. In turn, this will help with the transition to cleaner, zero-emissions transportation, thanks to technologies being developed by the likes of flying taxi firm Volocopter, which aims to start its services by 2023. It's worth noting that the flying taxi market is expected to reach a valuation of 6.63 billion by 2030.
It seems that Airspeeder's remote-piloted EXA racing series is now set to kick off next year, with the teams to be revealed in January. The EXA races will be longer than the drag race (shown in the video above), though they will still be a test of sorts, leading to Airspeeder's ultimate goal of running a global piloted flying car racing series sometime in 2023, around the same time that several flying taxi firms aim to take to the skies.