Monday, April 15, 2024

Airspeeder successfully completed first-ever electric VTOL drag race

Back in June, Alauda Aeronautics shared footage of its full-scale electric flying car’s first test flights in Australia. And now, the startup has successfully completed its first eVTOL drag race in Southern Australia.

In Airspeeder’s first-ever EXA Series pre-season test race – known as the EXA Drag Race – a pair of remotely piloted Airspeeder Mk3 aircraft were pitched in a battle of pure speed down a 300m drag strip. Team Alpha and Team Bravo – composed of Alauda engineers and official remote test pilots – dueled for the honor of victory for the first time in South Australia.

The Airspeeder Mk3 is a vertical take-off and landing machine that can fly from 0-100 km/h (0-62 mph) in just 2.8 seconds, reach top speeds of 200 km/h (124 mph), and is designed to reach altitudes of 500 m (1,640 ft). Such performance is ensured by a 320-kilowatt electric drive system in the form of four engines and efficient batteries. This carbon-fiber-bodied Mk3 weighs in at 130 kg and is capable of lifting more than 80 kg.

For starters, the Speeders are operated remotely by pilots who sit in ground-based cockpits and use haptic VR suits with First Person View (FPV) to control the eVTOL flying car. Ultimately, however, the pilots in the EXA Series will sit in real machines and will race in a similar way to Formula 1 drivers, but above the ground.

In a recently released video, two machines are seen competing in a straight line in an impressive sprint, rising to an altitude of 15 m (50 ft), and the leading craft reaches a top speed of 155 km/h (96 mph).

It was precisely to test their abilities in a real race that the Alauda company had two of them compete without a pilot on board. With this race test, Alauda is one step closer to kickstarting the Airspeeder EXA Series, scheduled to kick off next year. The Airspeeder race series will see up to four teams, each with two remote pilots, who will race the aircraft “prop-to-prop” around an electronically governed, AR-enabled racetrack in the skies.