Racing has always been a part of human competition—from foot races to cars, motorcycles, and airplanes. Airspeeder is the next breed of racing. Alauda, the Australian company behind Airspeeder, debuted their racer at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, announcing that they’re planning a racing series for 2020.
The idea is to take Formula 1 and make it airborne. Aluada has been chronicling their progress over the last year in a series of YouTube videos showing prototypes being put through their paces, flying them through several different unmanned conditions. They’re now ready to start an “entirely new racing league for elite pilots flying manned electric multicopters head to head in some of the world’s most exotic locations.”
The final racer will be just over four meters in length and 3.5 meters wide. The bodywork closely resembles F1 cars from the 1950s and 1960s. There’s just enough room for a pilot in the racer. The rest of the space will be reserved for a gigantic LiPo battery that has a discharge rate of 500-kilowatts. Without the pilot, the racer will weight north of 230 kilograms. Teams will be able to choose either a quadcopter design or a coaxial octocopter version.
The races will consist of timed events but also “heart-pounding white-knuckle head-to-head races 20 meters above the ground.” The races will be done at speeds around 124 miles per hour. That, of course, begs the question of how the pilot will be protected in the inevitable event of a crash (be honest, that’s the real reason you watch racing—for the crashes). At double the speed of highway driving and at a height of basically a seven-story building, crashes could be extremely deadly.
The ultimate idea is for these racers to be adapted for consumer use. After all, a lot of the innovations found in cars is born on and then tested on the race track. “Everyone’s building flying taxis,” says Aluada’s Matt Pearson.
“I looked at the industry and kind of went, ‘Ah. You know, it’s the most exciting transport revolution in 100 years. Do we really want to build a taxi? Why don’t we build something a little bit more fun?’ So I wanted to build flying sports cars, flying hypercars, flying supercars eventually but the industry has a bit of a way to go.”
A flying race series might just get a flying car into your driveway sooner.