Electric Flying Race Car Makes Historic First Flight
Airspeeder, the company aiming to get a flying car (read eVTOL) racing series off the ground announced on Thursday, June 17, that it had made its historic first flight, a report by CNET explains.
The company's Alauda Aeronautics Mk3, an unpiloted eVTOL multicopter, was remotely controlled as it flew for the first time in the South Australian desert, with the country's Civil Aviation Safety Authority there for observation.
The Alauda Mk4 flying car's first flight paves the way for Airspeeder's first races later this year, as the company aims to kickstart its remotely piloted electric flying racing series, called EXA.
The company says that, to begin with, the EXA Series will be comprised of "up to four teams with two remote pilots per team," and that it will act as a precursor to its piloted series.
That evolution feels apt in a year that saw a helicopter flown remotely on Mars by a NASA team that was largely remote due to the pandemic.
Airspeeder previously stated it will start "the world's first racing series for manned flying electric cars" as early as 2022.
Remote-controlled flying car racing
The EXA Series will see pilots on the ground control their Alauda Aeronautics Mk3 aircraft via screens on the ground. The Series will serve as a testing ground for technologies such as Airspeeder's LiDAR and Machine Vision-enabled "virtual force fields," which will eventually be deployed for the human-piloted series.
The Alauda Aeronautics Mk3 will weigh only 220 pounds (100kg) and will come with a 96 kW electric powertrain, allowing it to reach top speeds of 125 mph (201 km/h).
Airspeeder also says the all-electric, carbon-fiber-body eVTOL aircraft will allow for pit-stop battery changes in only 20 seconds.
The company joins a host of other firms taking advantage of advances in electric mobility to disrupt traditional racing. Just this month, the electric powerboat E1 series unveiled its hydrofoil 'Racebird' design. Last year, a concept for a Tron-like e-scooter championship was announced.
In a recent press statement, Airspeeder founder Matt Pearson said the company wants to 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."
Have a look at a promotional video from Airspeeder below, showing the first flight of its Alauda Aeronautics Mk3 aircraft.