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The world’s first electric flying race cars take to the skies over Adelaide

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Airspeeder, a flying race car that can go from 0-62 miles per hour in just 2.8 seconds, similar to Formula 1 race cars, has had a successful double test run for the first time.

The test flight of two unmanned Airspeeder vehicles, in mid-September over an undisclosed location near Adelaide, South Australia, marks the first time two units have taken to the skies together.

This is an important milestone as Airspeeder is designed to race other vehicles in the air nearby.

Airspeeder is an electric ‘octocopter’ craft assembled in Adelaide by Alauda Aeronautics as a mixture of helicopter, jet fighter and Formula 1 car.

Unveiled in February this year and currently undergoing testing phases, this model is the third Airspeeder prototype, named Mk3.

The first manned Airspeeder electric flying car Grand Prix – with real people in the cockpit this time – will follow in 2022.

Alauda Aeronautics, the creator and engineering team behind Airspeeder, the world’s first flying electric car racing series, took a test flight of two of the vehicles together

AIRSPEEDER DESIGN

The Mk3 Airspeeder was unveiled in February this year.

The 130kg racer features a carbon fiber shell, eight rotors – providing stability even in the event of a blade failure – and easily replaceable batteries whose power delivery profiles can be adjusted as needed. racecourse.

It can deliver a maximum power of 320 kW – equivalent to that of an Audi SQ7 performance SUV – and can lift a weight of more than 80 kg.

According to the developers, the speeder can climb to a height of 1,640 feet (500 meters).

It can also spin much faster than a traditional fixed-wing aircraft or helicopter, with a thrust-to-weight ratio of 3.5, nearly three times that of an F-15E Strike Eagle, one of the most advanced jet fighters in the world.

Airspeeder Mk3 has eight rotor blades around a central carbon fiber cockpit and is capable of maximum speeds of 75 miles per hour.

Reaching 0-62 miles per hour in just 2.8 seconds, the Airspeeder takes off faster than both a Lamborghini Huracan Evo and a Ferrari 812 Superfast.

Lewis Hamilton in a Mercedes F1 car could get to 62 miles per hour in about 2.6 seconds.

The goal of the Airspeeder team is to have human pilots in the cockpit next year for a manned racing series — something of an aerial Grand Prix — around the world.

Prior to this, several Airspeeders will be flown remotely on augmented reality sky tracks before the end of this year as part of the ‘EXA Series’.

Airspeeder Mk3 was designed and built by former engineers from McLaren, Jaguar, Rolls-Royce, Boeing and Brabham.

“Racing provides the space and scope for the development of long-promised electric flying cars,” said Matt Pearson, founder of Airspeeder, which has offices in Adelaide and London.

“The key to this is to create systems and technologies that allow them to fly safely close by.

“These groundbreaking first dual-racecraft flights not only show how incredible our upcoming races will look like, but they lay the groundwork for the introduction of flying cars in cities everywhere.”

The dual test flights “provide a glimpse of what a dual-style race will look like” in the upcoming EXA remote-controlled race series, which will take place later this year. Exact dates will be announced shortly, an Airspeeder spokesperson told MailOnline.

EXA will see pilots control the cars remotely via augmented reality ‘sky tracks’, where the public can watch via digital streams.

It features remote pilots who come from motorsports and civil and military aviation, all fighting it remotely while piloting their own Airspeeder. vehicle.

Remote pilots from the Mk3 race car will sit in a simulator that mimics the dynamics and ergonomics of the cockpit itself, while the onboard ‘Aviator’ robot will turn its head when the pilot turns theirs.

The Airspeeder can be seen here in South Australia during the double test flights.  While one is gray and the other white, they just have a different color scheme;  both are the same model

The Airspeeder can be seen here in South Australia during the double test flights. While one is gray and the other white, they just have a different color scheme; both are the same model

Airspeeder Mk3, unveiled in February 2021, is designed and built by former engineers from McLaren, Jaguar, Rolls-Royce, Boeing and Brabham

Airspeeder Mk3, unveiled in February 2021, is designed and built by former engineers from McLaren, Jaguar, Rolls-Royce, Boeing and Brabham

“EXA delivers on the promise of a future first seen in science fiction,” said Matthew Pearson, founder of Airspeeder and Alauda Aeronautics.

The craft is powered by a lithium polymer battery that allows it to fly for approximately 15 minutes. Each race lasts 45 minutes, meaning it takes two motorsport style pit stops to change the battery within 20 seconds.

The manned Airspeeder electric flying car Grand Prix – with real people in the cockpit this time – will follow in 2022.

The test flights of the Airspeeder vehicles, in mid-air over an undisclosed location near Adelaide, South Australia, are the first time two of the flying race cars have taken to the skies together.

The test flights of the Airspeeder vehicles, in mid-air over an undisclosed location near Adelaide, South Australia, are the first time two of the flying race cars have taken to the skies together.

One of the Airspeeder vehicles comes ashore after the September double test run.  The goal of the Airspeeder team is to have human pilots in the cockpit next year for a crewed racing series around the world.

One of the Airspeeder vehicles comes ashore after the September double test run. The goal of the Airspeeder team is to have human pilots in the cockpit next year for a crewed racing series around the world.

The craft is powered by a lithium polymer battery that allows it to fly for approximately 15 minutes.  Each race lasts 45 minutes, meaning two motorsport style pit stops are required to change the battery

The craft is powered by a lithium polymer battery that allows it to fly for approximately 15 minutes. Each race lasts 45 minutes, meaning two motorsport style pit stops are required to change the battery

Airspeeder is defined as a vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft, which can take off straight up into the sky, reducing the need for runway space.

Morgan Stanley predicts that the eVTOL industry will be worth $1.5 trillion (£1.1 trillion) by 2040.

Alauda Aeronautics confirmed in May that Airspeeder had entered production. When MailOnline asked how much the racers cost to produce, Airspeeder said the information was confidential between the company and the race teams.

Unfortunately, Airspeeder’s missions haven’t gone completely smoothly; in July 2019, an Airspeeder Mk2 prototype ran out of control at the Goodwood Aerodrome, West Sussex.

The craft — which was remotely piloted — soared some 8,000 feet in a flight path from Gatwick Airport before crashing near homes in Chichester.

A report from the Air Accidents Investigation Branch said the 200 invited guests who mostly watched from a rooftop terrace were told to “take cover” inside the building.

THE AIRSPEEDER MK3: ‘A GREAT TECHNICAL LEAP FORWARD’

According to Alauda Aeronautics, the Airspeeder Mk3 represents a “giant technical leap” in the development of the world’s first racing series for electric flying cars.

This remote-controlled vehicle is the latest version of an electric flying race car before the introduction of the manned racing craft, the Airspeeder Mk4, which will debut in 2022.

  • Top speed: 75mph
  • Weight: 100kg unmanned
  • powertrain: 96 kW
  • Technic: LiDAR and Radar to create a ‘virtual force field’
  • Layout: Octocopter X Formation

The vessel, which will be operated from the ground by a knowledgeable third-party operator, features a range of technologies and engineering elements never seen before on an eVTOL vessel.

These innovations will be validated in this important unmanned test phase and include LiDAR and Radar collision avoidance systems that create a ‘virtual force field’ around the craft to ensure close but ultimately safe racing.

The Mk3 features a carbon fiber frame and hull chosen for its strength, rigidity and lightweight properties, ensuring agility, performance and efficiency.

The carbon fiber frame and hull add an essential layer of mechanical safety, which will be further enhanced by a full carbon fiber monocoque body that will be introduced on the Mk4 vehicle.

DRIVELINE:

The MK3 powertrain represents a significant upgrade from the Mk2 proof of concept vehicle, increasing power by 95% with only a 50% increase in weight.

A 96kW electric powertrain already sees the Mk3 operate at a thrust-to-weight ratio of more than two, on a vessel that weighs just 100kg unmanned. The Mk3 speeders fly at speeds of over 75 mh.

MANEUVERABILITY AND STABILITY:

The Mk3 speeders are arranged in an ‘octocopter X formation’. This offers pilots significant advantages in terms of maneuverability and stability.

While racing, the pilot can make the same sharp hairpin turns as a Formula 1 car, but with the added third dimension of being able to move vertically.

The octocopter configuration also adds a significant amount of vehicle redundancy and allows the craft to land safely and maintain control if a rotor or battery system fails.

QUICK PIT STOPS:

Airspeeder GPs will feature quick pit stops.

To facilitate this, Alauda engineers have developed an innovative ‘slide and lock’ system for quick battery removal and replacement on the ground, this technology debuting on the Mk3.

This approach adds a strategic layer to the sport as teams can adapt the battery strategy to the dynamic requirements of that particular part of the race.

For example, for courses that require more maneuverability but less straight-line speed, a lighter battery pack can simply be chosen to provide more maneuverability at the expense of brute strength or endurance.

SOURCE: Airspeeder

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