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With a scheduled launch in 2020, Airspeeder will see 10 pilots from five teams face off in purpose-built flying vehicles capable of hitting speeds up to 200km/h. These aerial vehicles called quad-copters, will be four meters long and weigh roughly 250 kilograms.
The quad-copters will be propelled by eight 50kW motors driven by 60-inch blades. Power will be provided by 500kW battery packs that can provide full thrust for 15 minutes. The batteries can be swapped once they are drained. Airspeeder envisions that races will mirror the early years of Formula E, with a single pit stop/battery swap allowing for sprint-style races lasting a total of 30 minutes.
The new motorsport series has been developed by an Australia based startup called Alauda Racing. The company will be the sole manufacturer for Airspeeder's launch. Alauda Racing will also build the chassis, the battery technology, the motors and the software for the vehicles.
Alauda will also deliver the safety and collision-avoidance systems. The safety package will include an augmented reality vision system that will allows the pilot to 'see through' the craft's body, therefore providing enhanced visibility when overtaking or maneuvering next to opponents where line of sight is hindered.
Matt Pearson, founder and CEO of Airspeeder, said, "After huge amounts of hard work, research, technical development and planning this formal unveiling - at an event as iconic as Goodwood - it feels as though all our dreams have become reality and Airspeeder has properly arrived."
The launch at the Goodwood Festival of Speed featured two Mk II prototype unmanned Speeders racing at 100kmph at an average of four metres above the ground. The Mk IV Speeders that will eventually compete in the first Airspeeder Grand Prix will begin manned demonstration flights in the Mojave Desert later this year. Outside of underpinning the new motorsport series, the Speeders will also serve as a development platform for commercial flying cars.
Matt Pearson added, "This is just the start of our reach for the skies. Our vision sees not just the development of a unique sporting spectacle but also the start of a new industry, with flying cars built for competition providing an ideal environment for innovation and technical evolution. Just watch this space."
Thoughts About The New Airspeeder Grand Prix Series
This is next level stuff. We already have the Red Bull Series but that features propeller driven aeroplanes. Now we've got quad-copters! Fantastic idea to have something like this, and then doubly fantastic to use it as a base to manufacture flying cars. Will they still be called cars though?