The mentalists at Australian flying-car company Alauda recently showed off the third version of their highly anticipated Airspeeder eVTOL (dubbed “Mk3”). That alone would be newsworthy, but it’s the second part of Alauda’s announcement that’s more impressive — that’s not the part where the company plans some RC-style remote flying exhibitions for 2021, but rather the part where they’ll have manned Airspeeder racing in 2022. And that is freakin’ AWESOME. (!)
After a bit of a rocky start and having more than a few accusations of being vaporware thrown at them, Alauda received a massive cash injection from Australian technology venture capital firms Saltwater Capital and Jelix, FOREX trading and money management firm Equals, and German logistics company DHL last April. That cash seems to have been put to good use, producing both a number of new stickers on the sides of the eVTOL craft and something of an assembly line now exists in Adelaide, South Australia, that’s set to deliver 10 fully-functional “flying race cars” (as well as spares) to race teams later this year, in time for a series of remote-controlled exhibition races meant to wow audiences and build hype for the piloted 2022 season.
Now, if you’re like me, I’m sure you read that last line and wondered who would be crazy enough to insure a high-speed aerial racing event with piloted high-speed drones like this, let alone who would be mad enough to pilot the things! Well, that’s where the Mk3 version of the Airspeeder appears in come in. The latest version of the Airspeeder will use those 2021 exhibition events to prove out an advanced safety system that uses LiDAR and Radar-based collision avoidance systems to create a “virtual force field” around each of the flying cars and ensure close, but ultimately safe, side-by-side racing.
Airspeeder eVTOL Image Gallery
If that collision-avoidance system actually works — and, keep in mind, that’s still a big enough “if” that Alauda isn’t putting actual people inside their Airpseeders yet — it could be a tipping point in flying car technology. I mean, after all, how many of the people that you currently share the Interstate with do you trust to pilot a couple thousand pounds of flammable metal whirling death blades next to you and your kids? If this system makes keeping within aerial “lanes” as easy as it looks in Star Wars and the Jetsons, then I think we’ve got something here.
What do you guys think? Are these 200 km/h electric flying race cars something you’d go see in person, or would you maybe watch that first season on TV, away from any potential shrapnel? More importantly, do you think the ability to safely keep these things away from each other will accelerate the technology in the same way that, for example, Tesla’s skyrocketing market cap has accelerated legacy carmakers’ boards to push for more EVs sooner rather than later? Watch the promo video, below, then share your take with us in the comments section at the bottom of the page.
Airspeeder Mk3 | World’s First Electric Flying Race Car