There is currently a flying car series trying to get off the ground, the EXA Series. They managed to do some tests, and a race with the remote-controlled Mk3, but the ambition is to have actual pilots in the cars. In comes the Airspeeder Mk4.
The Mk4, developed by Alauda Aeronautics, has been designed specifically to house racers inside the cockpit rather than via remote control which is essential if they plan to launch a racing league around it. The league is an entity of Alauda Aeronautics based in Adelaide, Australia and as it stands, their tests have been successful.
In 2022, the league successfully completed the “world’s first electric flying car race.” Two EXA team pilots raced in South Australia using remote operated cars after a successful drag race in 2021.
After these tests, the league has managed to score sponsors like Telstra, and have even secured a two-year deal for broadcasting rights with Fox Sports Australia. So this is happening and now with Mk4, we’re closer than ever to seeing a manned air race with flying cars.
The Mk4 is utilises hydrogen technology rather than the battery packs of the previous models. This technology is represented by the Thunderstrike Hydrogen Turbogenerator which Airspeeder say can offer 300km (188 miles) of range. This turbogenerator can pump out 1,000kW (1,340hp) which powers the whole vehicle for a top speed of 360km/h (225mph) in 30 seconds from a standing start. The motor incorporates a unique 3D-printed combustor developed for rocket engines that helps keep the hydrogen flame temperature low while reducing nitrous oxide emissions. Hydrogen is used because it is incredibly lightweight, making it perfect for small aircraft.
Alauda Aeronautics CEO, Matt Pearson, said of the new Mk4, “We, and the world, are ready for crewed flying car racing. We have built the vehicles, developed the sport, secured the venues, attracted the sponsors and technical partners. Now is the time for the world’s most progressive, innovative, and ambitious automotive brands, OEM manufacturers and motorsport teams to be part of a truly revolutionary new motorsport. In unveiling the crewed Airspeeder Mk4 we show the vehicles that will battle it out in blade-to-blade racing crewed by the most highly-skilled pilots in their fields.”
For safety, each vehicle is equipped with collision avoidance systems utilising lidar, radar, and machine vision to avoid in-air crashes. As an added safety measure, or perhaps just for clear airspace, the racing locations have been suggested in desert locales like Coober Pedy in South Australia and the Mojave Desert in California.
The Mk4 will make its public debut at the Southstart Innovation Festival on March 7 in Adelaide.