Australian companies Alauda and Airspeeder announced the first and successful test flight of the Mk3 sports flying car. It passed in unmanned mode and was controlled remotely, through a robotic avatar simulating a human body. Later this year, three races are planned at once with the participation of such flying machines in different countries /
The Alauda Aeronautics Mk3 EXA is a 130kg octacopter without a pilot or avatar. The total capacity of eight electric motors is 320 kilowatts. They drive eight two-blade propellers with a diameter of about 80 centimeters, located on four levers. The maximum speed of the device has not been specified, but, according to the official teaser video, the Mk3 accelerated to more than 150 kilometers per hour during testing. Although it can be an artistic element of a promotional campaign.
Airspeeder's press release (PDF) for the first flight of a new generation of flying race cars indicates that the Mk3 is capable of accelerating from zero to 100 kilometers per hour (62 mph) in 2.8 seconds. The maximum flight altitude reaches 500 meters, and the carrying capacity is 80 kilograms. The latter characteristic somewhat limits the list of persons who can be admitted to the pilot's seat. Yes, although the third generation cars are remotely controlled during the test flight and announced competitions, they have a full cockpit.
The fact is that the Mk3 model according to the plan should be the last iteration of Alauda developments before the creation of a manned version of the Mk4. That is why the control is carried out not just through the TV channel, but through the avatar imitating some parts of the human body. The company intends not only to put on a show, but also to check at competitions what loads the pilot will experience in "combat" conditions, as well as to assess possible problems in his interaction with the machine.
This is the ultimate goal of the Australian startup: manned flying car racing. Alauda and Airspeeder founder Matthew Pearso n believes that progress in the development of such a transport makes sense to stimulate through sports. And his point of view cannot be called unfounded: in the history of the automotive industry, you can find many technical solutions that were first invented for racing, and then they migrated to serial "civilian" models.
In the first pilotless races, highly trained pilots will sit in specially prepared cockpits of the Alauda Aeronautics Mk3 EXA. All their interactions with the controls will repeat the avatars on the track. And the latter does not even have to be built: Airspeeder races are held in augmented reality (AR) format. An outside observer will only be able to see a few large octacopters making intricate circles over the Australian desert.
But before the eyes of the pilots and viewers of the official broadcast, a virtual track in the air will appear over the images from the cameras. The idea of Pearson and a team of like-minded people is a competition in technically identical flying cars, the victory in which depends only on the skill of the riders. A dozen Mk3s have already been put into production, so, according to Airspeeder, by the end of the year it will be possible to hold three demonstration races (what will it be called now?) With the participation of several teams (two cars for each). Well, next year the company is planning a full-fledged EXA Series world championship with tracks in different countries.
Former engineers from Mclaren, Brabham, Boeing, Mclaren, Jaguar and Rolls-Royce contributed to the creation of racing flying cars. Alauda Aeronautics' headquarters and center are located in the south of Australia, in the city of Adelaide. This Pearson company is responsible for the engineering side of the issue. Airspeeder is in charge of organizing competitions and providing information support for all events.