Aircraft

Flying car racing could be headed to Australia

Flying car racing could be hea...
Matt Pearson with a mockup of the Mirage Airspeeder (NOT the Mark 1 Airspeeder, which would be the first model to actually fly)
Matt Pearson with a mockup of the Mirage Airspeeder (NOT the Mark 1 Airspeeder, which would be the first model to actually fly)
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Matt Pearson with a mockup of the Mirage Airspeeder (NOT the Mark 1 Airspeeder, which would be the first model to actually fly)
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Matt Pearson with a mockup of the Mirage Airspeeder (NOT the Mark 1 Airspeeder, which would be the first model to actually fly)
The Mark 1 Airspeeder's body is modelled after that of a 1960s Formula V car
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The Mark 1 Airspeeder's body is modelled after that of a 1960s Formula V car

Much of the technology found in today's consumer automobiles was originally designed to give race cars a competitive edge. With that in mind, Australian entrepreneur Matt Pearson figured that if there's one way of accelerating the development of flying cars, it's to race the things. To that end, his company Alauda is now building what is essentially a human-capable racing drone.

Known as the Alauda Mark 1 Airspeeder, plans call for the vehicle to carry one pilot up to a top speed of 250 km/h (155 mph). It will be equipped with four custom 50-kilowatt brushless electric motors, powered by the same lithium-ion cells as used in the battery of a Tesla Model S. With an aerospace aluminum frame and a carbon fiber composite body, it should have a net weight of 120 kg (265 lb) and a power-to-weight ratio of 1.66.

It all sounds very ambitious, although the Alauda team isn't promising huge things for flight time just yet – the goal currently sits at about 10 minutes.

The Mark 1 Airspeeder's body is modelled after that of a 1960s Formula V car
The Mark 1 Airspeeder's body is modelled after that of a 1960s Formula V car

Plans currently call for the retro-bodied Mark 1 (pictured above) to make its first test flight in early 2018, followed by a head-to-head race between two of the vehicles taking place in the Australian desert late in the year. The first-ever Airspeeder World Championship, in which flying cars from different manufacturers race against one another, could subsequently be held in 2020.

For now, though, Matt's raising money on Kickstarter. No, you can't get an Airspeeder of your own, although a minimum pledge of AUD$35 will get you exclusive access to a livestream of next year's test race – assuming it happens, of course.

"It's just time the world had flying cars," says Pearson. "Racing will push the technology like nothing else. It's not enough to build the speeder: we have to build the sport. We want to bring the excitement and values of Formula 1 to the sky."

Source: Kickstarter

16 comments
RXStephen
Oh yeah baby! I want want want. 10 min at 250 kph in one of those would be enough adrenaline to last a very very long time.
jofjdi
This looks awesome to watch. And imagine the things we’d learn about making safer large scale flying multirotors!
JimRD
Exciting way to die.
ikarus342000
As much as I like it, but why in all the world again a leg amputator?
Riaanh
Flying car,really ? I am not seeing wheels on any of these. I can also not imagine these drones in peak hour traffic, poor pedestrians and cyclists!
over_there
although it looks really cool , be realistic there is no saftey if one engine goes you die, if the battery has an issue you die, if the electronics stop even momentarily you die, helicopters and planes both have a good chance when engines stop. I know quad copter things are really easay to make compared to helicopters but the helicopter is a far superior design.
Lardo
So I would I go about adjusting the stagger?
Paul Muad'Dib
Air racing in conventional airplanes is very dangerous, put a bunch of amateur pilots in these things and it would be guaranteed carnage. Four propeller drones are inherently unstable, it would be impossible to fly them without the help of computer control. The only reason they fly at all is tiny solid state gyros, accelerometers and computers that are so small they can fit into a four propeller drone that fits in the palm of your hand.
chase
Looks cool, sounds exciting. I agree. On the same note I find it odd how the media painted a much different picture concerning hobby drones with the sky is falling surrounding the mere mention of people + UAV's. UAV's which are far more advanced than those craft of the 50's, 60's, 70's, 80's 90's which a lot of rules where based on. Yet here we are glorified with the prospect of racing a multi rotor craft with a person inside. Something that hasn't advanced enough let alone shown success walking let alone running. I just feel there's an oxymoronic scenario surrounding the whole issue. The idea of racing manned multirotors is a noble one indeed. But a true successful flight from point A to point B, let alone racing has yet to be done. One also has to wonder where all the nay sayers are on this. Gosh, crowds of people close to a manned multirotor going at the proposed speeds. What if....? Ah.. but this is different right?! Bull pucky.!
possum1
If you want to see flying machines race, go to Nevada and watch warbirds pylon racing. No annoying electric buzz, but big arse radials and Rolls Royce aero engines howling at peak RPM's. Like car racing, a huge part of any racing is the noise, so blender racing is a fail. Warbirds are much faster too - but hugely more expensive as a down side.