It will partake in a racing series later this year.
Last year, a company by the name of PAL-V revealed that its PAL-V Liberty, an actual flying car, had achieved the milestone of being certified as street legal. Next year, it will hopefully receive its aviation certificate, too. But while the Liberty is a flying car that is eventually intended for transportation, another company has even loftier ambitions for its own airborne creation.
Alauda - an EV company based in Adelaide, South Australia - has just revealed the Airspeeder Mk3, the first full-sized electric flying racing car in the world. The Mk3 will compete in the Airspeeder remotely-piloted racing series in 2021. These remotely-piloted competitions will be a technical test-bed with the purpose of leading to a manned racing series next year; this manned racing craft will be known as the Airspeeder Mk4.
Able to fly at speeds of up to 75 mph, the Airspeeder Mk3 is described as an electric vertical take-off and landing vehicle (eVTOL). It's equipped with a 96-kW (129 horsepower) electric powertrain and weighs just over 220 pounds, in part thanks to a carbon-fiber frame.
A so-called "octocopter X" control setup allows the Mk3 to make similar hairpin-style turns that an F1 driver would, but of course, the Mk3 can also move up and down. Being airborne brings with it new considerations for safety, but the Mk3's array of LiDAR and radar collision avoidance systems work together to form a 'virtual forcefield' around the craft. This allows it to be raced safely in close proximity to other crafts.
The Mk3 flying car has been designed to execute rapid pit stops, another link to F1 racing. This will allow for the quick replacement of depleted batteries during racing.
"The unveiling of the world's first full-sized electric flying racing car is a landmark moment in the dawn of a new mobility revolution," said Matthew Pearson, Founder of Airspeeder and Alauda Aeronautics. "The world's first electric flying car races will take place this year and will be the most exciting and progressive motorsport on the planet."
Few mainstream automakers have anything ready that can compete with Alauda's Airspeeder Mk3. Hyundai, better known for SUVs like the Palisade, hopes to have its flying car ready by 2028, although that isn't intended for racing.
Alauda is well on its way to developing ten identical Mk3 racers this year, drawing on expertise from companies like Boeing, Rolls-Royce, and McLaren. The first Airspeeder race will undoubtedly be a landmark event in motorsports.