World’s First Flying Race Car Completes Maiden Flight
The world’s first flying race car has successfully completed its maiden flight ahead of planned remotely-piloted races later this year.
With technology continuing to advance at such a rapid pace it was only a matter of time until flying race cars were introduced and took the much-loved sport to the skies, and now the Alauda Airspeeder Mk3 has become the first to show how it’s done.
The electric flying car left Earth behind for its first unmanned test flights at a secret test location in the South Australian desert following approval from Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority.
Check out the technology below:
Measuring four metres long, the Airspeeder Mk3 is kept afloat by multiple propellers and has a thrust-to-weight ratio that exceeds even some of the world’s most advanced fighter aircraft.
The vehicle was controlled during the test flights by a ‘telerobotic avatar’, The Guardian reports, however it is hoped that pilots will be able to step into the cockpit in the future. The cars are equipped with lidar and radar systems that work in sync with different vehicles, in turn helping to avoid crashes.
Matthew Pearson, the founder of Alauda Aeronautics, explained: ‘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.’
‘Basically, the pilot has complete freedom… but we can create a virtual forcefield between the aircraft in the air, even at really high speeds,’ he continued.
Following the test flights, the Airspeeder Mk3 is set to compete in a Formula One–style series of races named Airspeeder EXA, where as many as 10 aircraft will take to the skies. Three races are set to take place later this year, with cars flying at speeds between 150 to 250km per hour depending on the surrounding terrain.
Details about the distance and length of time the craft was airborne for during the test flights have not been made public, however each race in the competition would last 45 minutes, with two pit stops required to change lithium polymer batteries that each offer 15 minutes of flying.
Pearson noted the competition is ‘not just racing for racing’s sake’, explaining: ‘Racing gave us seatbelts and disc brakes and rear vision mirrors.’
With this in mind, Pearson expressed hope that the Airspeeder EXA will help improve the safety of the technology and ‘accelerate clean air mobility for our cities.’
The Airspeeder Mk3 has been designed and built by former McLaren, Jaguar, Rolls-Royce, Boeing and Brabham engineers, with the company aiming to have human pilots in the cockpit by 2022.
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CreditsThe Guardian and 1 other