Beverly, South Australia, Australia
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 Mk1, Alauda 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.
The Airspeeder Mk2 remote controlled uncrewed two meter (excluding propellers) ¾ subscale model test flyer was flown June 23, 2018. In the beginning years of Alauda Aeronautics, the company said it conducts much of its business in stealth mode but more information has become available since October 2018.
By November 2018, they had designed several new Airspeeder models with 8 propellers, two on each corner of the aircraft. The new models for the Airspeeder are the Mk2 for 2019 and in the future, the Mk3 and the Mk4 model. Each of the new Airspeeders have eight propellers each and eight electric motors. The Mk1, Mk2 and Mk3 are uncrewed prototypes and the Mk4 model will be a full scale crewed racing eVTOL aircraft.
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.
- Aircraft type: ¾ scale racing eVTOL subscale prototype
- Passengers: 0—remote controlled flights
- Maximum speed: 60 km/h (37 mph)
- Empty weight: 80 kg (176 lbs)
- Flight time: 7 minutes
- Fuselage: Fibre composite
- Landing gear: Skid type
- 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.
- Alauda Aeronautics website
- Alauda Racing website
- Airspeeder Facebook
- Airspeeder Twitter
- Airspeeder Instagram
- Airspeeder LinkedIn
- Airspeeder YouTube
- Alauda Racing Vimeo
- Alauda Aeronautics Airspeeder Kickstarter (Cancelled on Dec. 29, 2017)
- Article: Flying cars don't exist yet, but one company already wants to race them in the desert, The Verge, Dec. 11, 2017
- Article: Australian Startup Alauda Wants to Race Flying Cars by the End of the Decade, The Drive, Dec. 12, 2017
- Article: Meet Alauda, the company that wants to build flying cars and race them, Mashable, Dec. 14. 2017
- Article: 'world's first flying car' race could predict the future of sports, DesignBoom, Dec. 20, 2017
- Article: This Aussie startup wants to launch a flying car grand prix, The Sydney Moring Herald, Mar. 23, 2018.
- Video: We Build Flying Race Cars (Up to Speed: Episode 1), Airspeeder, Oct. 26, 2018
- Video: Race Track Recon (Up to Speed: Episode 2), Airspeeder, Nov. 3, 2018
- Video: How Not to Fly a Flying Race Car (Up to Speed: Episode 3), Airspeeder, Nov. 10, 2018
- Video: Speed Controller Pain (Up to Speed: Episode 4), Airspeeder, Nov. 23, 2018
- Video: Flying Car Blues (Up to Speed: Episode 5), Airspeeder, Nov. 30, 2018
- Video: Leveling Up (Up to Speed: Episode 6), Airspeeder, Dec. 16, 2018
- Video: Last chance (Up to speed: Episode 7), Airspeeder, Feb. 2, 2019
- Video: Heading West (Up to Speed: Episode 8), Airspeeder, Feb. 9, 2019
- Video: Quantum Leap (Up to Speed: Episode 9), Airspeeder, Mar. 27, 2019
- Video: Send off (Up to Speed: Episode 10), Airspeeder, Apr. 22, 2019
- Article: Certifiably crazy: how the world's first flying car racing league was born, Tech Radar, Apr. 26, 2019
- Video: Airspeeder Teaser, Airspeeder, Apr. 5, 2020
- Article: Alauda’s Airspeeder Flying Electric Racer Wants To Speed Future Sustainable Transport, Forbes, April 6, 2020
- Article: Meet the Airspeeder, the New Electric VTOL That Looks (and Flies) Like a Formula 1 Race car, Robb Report, Apr. 21, 2020
- Article: Airspeeder flying cars will be the F1 of the skies, GQ Magazine, June 9, 2020
- Article: Airspeeder Testing Program To Take Place Near Coober Pedy, Coober Pedy Regional Times, June 12, 2020