Advanced Air Mobility News

Alauda Unveils Manned Airspeeder Mk4 Flying Racing Car

Alauda Unveils Manned Airspeeder Mk4 Flying Racing Car

Alauda Aeronautics said it is in discussion with a number of potential OEM partners on technology collaboration and teaming opportunities in the private eVTOL sector as the company prepares to launch the first manned test flights of its Airspeeder Mk4 flying racing car.

Although the Airspeeder eVTOL has been developed for new motorsport, the Airspeeder Racing series, Alauda has always maintained that it is a testing ground for new technology, including sustainable propulsion systems, with the potential to change how we travel in the future.

“Some of the biggest names in the automotive world – Ferrari, Ford, Renault, Rolls Royce – started with racing as their first application, determining the technology and pedigree first, before moving into high end commercial vehicles,” said Jack Withinshaw, Co-founder and Chief Commercial Officer. “We have a long-range focus on private air mobility and see racing as just the first step towards that vision, just as it was at the dawn of the automotive era,” he added.

The newly unveiled Airspeeder Mk4 is the first crewed version of Alauda’s flying racing car, with the earlier Mk3 uncrewed variant having conducted more than 350 test flights, flying 700km of augmented reality race track, reaching a 150kpm top speed and completing two circuit races at the Lake Lochiel salt flats in South Australia, said Withinshaw.

“To achieve this, we not only built 10-plus Mk3s, but had to train our first cohort of male and female pilots, as well as the foundational infrastructure required to keep three Airspeeders racing,” he explained. “This includes AR skytracks, 5G mesh networks, race control systems, pilot control systems, engineering systems, pilot simulators and training simulators. Effectively, a system of systems, similar to what our future cities will require for full scale commercial advanced air mobility adoption,” he added.

The Mk4 is in early prototype testing, with the first manned flights to be announced “soon”, said Withinshaw.

Alauder said the Airspeeder Mk4 will be the world’s fastest eVTOL aircraft, with a top speed of 360kph in 30 seconds from a standing start and a range of 300km. The aircraft, which was designed and built in Adelaide, South Australia, is designed for maximum agility at high speeds and low altitudes. It is powered by a 1,000kW “Thunderstrike” turbogenerator that incorporates a unique combustor that keeps the hydrogen flame temperature relatively low, greatly reducing nitrous oxide emissions.

The vehicle maneuvers using a unique gimballed thrust system, whereby an artificial intelligence-based flight controller individually adjusts the four rotor pairs mounted on lightweight 3D-printed gimbals, allowing it to be fast and able to maneuver with high precision.

Alauder, which was established in 2016, has had setbacks along the way, including the crash of an Airspeeder Mk2 scaled prototype near Goodwood Aerodrome in the United Kingdom on a demonstration flight in July 2019 when the remote pilot lost control.

Do you want to be one of the first to read stories like this? Our newsletter features all of the top stories of the week condensed into one easy-to-read email. It’s fast and free to sign up, so click here to sign up now.