Australia-based Alauda Aeronautics has unveiled the Airspeeder Mk4 – the world’s first, and fastest, crewed flying car – and is seeking original equipment manufacturers (OEM) partners to join it in this motorsport revolution.
Designed and built in Adelaide, the Airspeeder Mk4 is the “world's fastest electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft”. Capable of reaching a top speed of 360 kph (225 mph) in just 30 seconds from a standing start, it’s designed to set the bar for performance and technology in the radical new sport of piloted airspeeder racing.
With its sophisticated electric propulsion system, advanced aerodynamics and a take-off weight (MTOW) of just 950 kg, the Airspeeder Mk4 has a projected range of 300 km (188 miles) while producing near-zero emissions.
The new aircraft is a development of the remotely-piloted Mk3, which has successfully completed more than 350 test flights and took part in two Airspeeder demonstration races in southern Australia last year.
The Airspeeder Mk4 is powered by a 1,340-horsepower turbogenerator that feeds power to the batteries and motors. The technology also allows green hydrogen to be used as fuel, providing safe, reliable and sustainable power over long distances and flight times. Alauda Aeronautics’ demonstrator ‘thunderstrike’ engine incorporates a combustor made using 3D printing techniques developed in the space industry for rocket engines.
The automaker cited hydrogen as an “ideal fuel” for future aviation, specifically personal urban air travel.
Alauda Aerospace plans to begin flight testing the Mk4 chassis and powertrain, including the first crewed flights of the airframe, in the first quarter of 2023. The aircraft will be ready to take the start line at the Airspeeder Racing Championship in 2024, the manufacturer said.
AI Gimballed Thrust
The Mk4 will also use an artificial intelligence (AI) flight controller to individually adjust four rotor pairs mounted on lightweight 3D printed gimbals. This will make the Mk4 not only fast in a straight line, but also able to manoeuvre with the incredible precision essential in close-action racing.
According to Matt Pearson, CEO of Alauda Aeronautics, eVTOLs are already a trillion-dollar industry and they are seeing a very substantial market for private flying cars emerging in the near future. “Once we can sell you a flying car for the same price as a Tesla, you’ll quickly see the balance shift,” he said. “Today, private cars outnumber taxis by about 300 to one, so the potential for people to own and drive their own flying car one day is absolutely enormous. It’s a very exciting time.”