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Alauda Airspeeder Mk1

 

Alauda Airspeeder Mk1
Alauda Aeronautics 
Beverly, South Australia, Australia
www.airspeeder.com
www.alaudaracing.com

Alauda Aeronautics was founded by Matt Pearson in 2016 and is the creator of the Airspeeder Mark I through Mark IV electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) racing aircraft. Originally founded in Sydney, Australia, the company is now located in Beverly, Australia. It's flight racing company is named Alauda Racing and is located in Sydney, Australia. For more details on other Airspeeder models, please see the Alauda Airspeeder Mk2Alauda Airspeeder Mk3, and Alauda Airspeeder Mk4 aircraft pages.

Around the world, most start-up companies are making short range hybrid-electric VTOL and eVTOL aircraft for Urban Air Mobility (UAM); however, Alauda Aeronautics is focusing on building the first low-altitude eVTOL flying race cars and starting the world’s first flying race car events on a global scale.

In 2014, Pearson originally considered hover technology for flight racing but he eventually realized that hovering technology would not only include making flying vehicles but would also require building magnetic race tracks. The racing track would be cost prohibitive because it would mean building expensive tracks in multiple locations around the globe.   

In January 2015, Pearson decided that using a passenger quadcopter, for a flying race car, would be easier to design, make and put into practical use. With an eVTOL aircraft, it would be easy to use the aircraft for personal use, to practice racing and to use for flight racing, any place in the world.   

Since there’s been cars, there’s been motorsport, says the company and a new era of transport is emerging. The elegant simplicity of multicopters, their practicality, proliferation and the accelerating advance of robotics are enabling new, groundbreaking applications.

The Airspeeder design is based on the 1960s British Formula One race cars. Alauda is pioneering the future of racing motorsport with the Airspeeder, whose main goal is to accelerate the development of electric flying aircraft by placing them in a competitive environment. The first ever coupé of the sky. 

—Alauda Aeronautics 

The Alauda Airspeeder Mk1 is a made for racing eVTOL aircraft shaped like a race car, with an open cock pit for a single pilot. The aircraft has four propellers on booms at each corner, has four electric motors, skid type landing gear and uses the same batteries in a Tesla Model S four-door sedan. The name Airspeeder was taken from science fiction movie franchise, Star Wars. In Star Wars, Airspeeders were seen on the planet of Coruscant, where flying cars were flying at fairly high altitudes in skylanes, to help navigate around skyscrapers and also to fly anywhere else, around the planet. The Airspeeder Mk1's maximum cruising speed is estimated at 250 km/h (155 mph) with a flight time of approximately 10 minutes. The design is based on a 1960s Formula One racing car, giving a nod to the golden age of motor sport.

The company has chosen exotic areas for their air races such as deserts, islands and bodies of water, where the area looks like something out of futuristic science fiction movies.  If you race in the desert for example, and there are cliffs, you can race around them. It's very similar to pod racing in the Star Wars movie, The Phantom Menace (May 16, 1999). Blade Runner (June 25, 1982), Back To The Future (July 3, 1985), The Fifth Element (May 7, 1997) have also influence Pearson as well as Luke Skywalker jumping into his Landspeeder from the first Star Wars movie (May 25, 1977).

Alauda has confirmed there are two areas in the world which have been approved for their air racing: the Mojave Desert (California, USA), and a desert near Coober Pedy (South Australia). The goal is to have at least three races in the first season and then expand the number of races per season after that. The Airspeeders have changeable battery packs and they envision pitstops for their air races, just like motorsports. They'll make a pitstop to swap out batteries, so it will make the sport very exciting. The company hopes to hold the world's first Airspeeder World Championship in Australia in 2021. 

The company looks forward to 5G and 6G networks  which will offer the additional bandwidth needed for the Airspeeder on-board computers to communicate with each other. To keep air racing safe, all the Airspeeders will have to be in constant contact with each other during the race, to warn each aircraft if there is a bottle neck or a problem, so that no air collisions or accidents can occur and to keep people on the ground safe at all times. 

Alauda is being funded by Australian and Germany venture capital firms Saltwater Capital and Jelix Ventures, and also by the corporations Equals and DHL. Alauda Aeronautics is building its vehicles at its test facility in the Australian city of Adelaide and its commercial base is in London.

Specifications:

  • Aircraft type: racing eVTOL subscale prototype
  • Capacity: 0—remote controlled uncrewed aircraft 
  • Maximum speed: 250 km/h (155 mph) 
  • Maximum altitude: 3.5 km (11,483 feet) 
  • Flight time: 10 minutes (approximately)
  • Propellers: 4—1.3 meter wide propellers (4 feet, 3 inches) 
  • Motors: 4
  • Motor type: 50 megawatt brushless DC electric (BLDC), PM Synchronous motors
  • Power output of each motor: 50 kW 
  • Total power: 200 kW (268 horsepower)
  • Thrust: 65 kilos (143 lbs)
  • RPM: 3,000 rpm 
  • Battery capacity: 8.75 kWh (kilowatt-hour) lithium-ion battery pack
  • Cell energy density: 260 Wh/kg (watt-hour per kilogram)
  • Empty weight: 120 kg (265 lbs)
  • Airframe material: 6061 T5 aerospace grade aluminium
  • Fuselage material: Fibre composite
  • Safety features: Distributed Electric Propulsion (DEP), provides safety through redundancy for its passengers and/or cargo. DEP means having multiple propellers and motors on the aircraft so if one or more motors or propellers fail, the other working motors and propellers can safely land the aircraft. The aircraft also has sensors to keep the pilot from crashing the aircraft. Safety features will also be put in place for the pilots so they don't fly too high or low , and there will be safety features to protect crowds during the races. The company is developing high-speed collision avoidance technology to ensure the safety of pilots when many vehicles are racing simultaneously - this includes airborne radar, lidar and machine vision. All the Airspeeders in a race will talk to each other and will know if one slows down or is causing a problem, to ensure crashes won't occur.

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