Flying racing cars are the stuff of science fiction dreams and futuristic video games. People of a certain age may remember the Wipeout game series that debuted on the very first Playstation console. More people are probably familiar with podracing as a sport that takes place in the Star Wars universe. Well, now Airspeeder is making these wondrous fever dreams a reality with its flying racing car and racing series.
The brainchild of entrepreneur Matthew Pearson, Airspeeder is the motorsports series set up to fly the Alauda-manufactured flying cars. Airspeeder and Alauda are two separate companies set up by Pearson. Alauda is the production wing that designs and builds the vehicles, whereas Airspeeder is the company that will run the races and organize the series.
The eVTOL that will be used in the races is the Alauda Mk3, and it’s this vehicle that recently undertook its first test flight in a desert in South Australia. If you’re thinking that the Mk3 will be some kind of pedestrian-paced drone, you’re wrong. It can reach a speed of 62 mph (100 km/h) in just 2.8 seconds and has a top speed of 124 mph (200 km/h). The maximum altitude the craft will be able to fly at is 1,640 feet.
At the moment the flights are unmanned, with the vehicles being remotely piloted. Airspeeder has drawn on people from aviation, e-sports, and motorsports backgrounds to be in control of the Mk3s. Taking place in the air, it is of course impossible to have a traditionally visible race track. Instead, the pilots will see the racecourse through the use of augmented reality sky-tracks. Audiences will be able to see the same augmented reality track, and can watch the races via digital streams. There are plans to have manned races taking place by 2022.
As with all electric aviation vehicles, battery life is a challenge, especially with a more high performance eVTOL like the Mk3. The batteries are estimated to have 15 minutes of charge available before needing to be swapped. To get around this issue, the Mk3 is fitted with a battery that can be replaced in around 20 seconds. The races are proposed to last 45 minutes, meaning that there will need to be two battery swaps per race. A regular Formula One pitstop lasts around a minute, for comparison.
The racing series will be called EXA, and Pearson seemingly read our minds with his statement: “EXA delivers on the promise of a future first shown in science fiction. We are proud to introduce a sport that redefines what humans and machines can achieve together.” Yep, this is the stuff of science fiction made real. After the success of Formula E, it’ll be interesting to see if this new series will catch on in the same way. We’re looking forward to taking a skyside seat.
Image courtesy Airspeeder
Don't want to miss a cleantech story? Sign up for daily news updates from CleanTechnica on email. Or follow us on Google News!
Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.