By Lauren Rouse
We are officially living in the future because the world’s first flying race car has just taken off.
Airspeeder announced that its remotely piloted Alauda Mk3 models have taken their first successful flight. The eVTOLs are being tested in anticipation of electric flying car races that will be held later in the year.
Behold flying cars
The Airspeeder electric vehicles underwent unmanned testing in the South Australian desert, according to the media release. Flights were supervised by Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority.
The Airspeeder flying vehicles can reach 320kw of power which equals the performance of an Audi SQ7 SUV.
The vehicles weigh only 130kg and can lift loads over 80kg. They can go from 0-100km/h in just 2.8 seconds with an aerial height of 500 meters.
The Alauda Mk3 is made from a carbon fibre chassis and is powered by a lithium-polymer battery that lasts 15 minutes.
When it comes time to actually drive the cars all the vehicles are unmanned. Human pilots sit in replica simulated environments on the ground and the vehicle cockpits contain telerobotic avatars that have been designed to represent human frames.
“We’ve got a robot in the cockpit, linked up to a pilot on the ground. When the pilot turns their head, the robot turns their head,” Matthew Pearson, founder of Airspeeder Aeronautics, told The Guardian.
Flying car races are coming
The Alauda Mk3 racecraft is leading the way to flying car races.
Three electric flying car Grand Prixs are set to take place later in 2021, at yet-to-be-named locations according to the release.
Races will take 45 minutes, meaning two pit stops for battery changes are required, imitating traditional motorsports.
In order to avoid in-air collisions, all the vehicles use LIDAR and radar detection systems to create a virtual forcefield. These safety measures will make way for human-piloted races in the future.
Pilots will be drawn from aviation, motorsport and eSports backgrounds to remotely pilot the eVTOLs. Races will be broadcast via on-demand digital streams.
Following the successful test of the Alauda Mk3, 10 more are in production for teams to fly in the EXA series of races.
Airspeeder and Alauda have definitely made history with this flying race car, but its not the only manufacturer with flying cars on the brain.
Cadillac announced it was looking into a flying taxi concept at CES this year and AeroMobil is apparently bringing us flying cars in just two years. Whether or not that pans out to be true we can look forward to real flying car races later in 2021.