Alauda Aeronautics was founded by Matt Pearson in 2016 and is the creator of the Airspeeder Mk1 (Mark 1) through Mk4 (Mark 4) 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. The Airspeeder's design changed slightly with each new model version but the Mk4 will be the design used for its production eVTOL racing aircraft. For more details on other Airspeeder models, please see the Alauda Airspeeder Mk1, Alauda Airspeeder Mk2, and Alauda Airspeeder Mk3 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 Alauda Airspeeder Mk4 is a completely redesigned full scale crewed racing hydrogen-electric VTOL aircraft. The aircraft holds one pilot and is intended for high-speed low altitude racing. The newly designed aircraft has a maximum speed of 360 kph (225 mph) and has a flight range 300 km (188 miles). The maximum takeoff weight of the racing aircraft is expected to be 950 kg (2,094 lb). The aircraft is powered by a 1,000 kW (1,340 horsepower) Thunderstrike hydrogen-electric turbogenerator. The company stated they foresee their first crewed races will take place in 2024.
The aircraft has eight ducted propellers located in four propeller housings (two propellers are inside each ducted housing) with each ducted housing having a 360 degree dual gimballed capability. The aircraft has eight electric motors, one for each propeller. The front ducted propellers are mounted on the front sides of the fuselage and the rear ducted propellers are mounted on the top rear of the box wings.
The Airspeeder Mk4 is highly stylized modern streamlined version of a modern Formula One racing car. The Mk4 has a canopy over the cockpit, has one low foreplane, one box wing (located mid-fuselage) and has one rear horizontal stability that is mounted on top of double vertical stabilizers. At the rear and on each side of the cockpit are air intake grills to cool the hydrogen-electric turbogenerator. The airframe is made of carbon fiber composite and has a length of 5.73 meters (18 ft, 9.59 in), a width of 3.62 meters (11 ft, 10.52 in) and has a height of 1.44 meters (4 ft, 8.69 in). The aircraft has fixed skid landing gear.
The company plans to use 5G and 6G networks that 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 all pilots and people on the ground safe at all times.
Alauda's partners include IWC Schaffhausen, DHL, Telstra Purple, Saltwater Games, Acronis and Teknov8. Alauda Aeronautics is building its vehicles at its test facility in Adelaide, South Australia, Australia and its commercial base is located in London, England, United Kingdom.
Aircraft type: Hybrid-electric VTOL high-speed low altitude racing aircraft
Capacity: 1 pilot
Maximum speed: 360 km/h (225 mph)
Range: 300 km (188 miles)
Maximum takeoff weight: 950 kg (2,094 lb)
Propellers: 8 propellers (there are four 360 degree dual gimballed ducted propeller housings, each ducted housing holds two propellers)
Electric motors: 8 electric motors
Power source: 1,000 kW (1,340 horsepower) Thunderstrike hydrogen-electric turbogenerator
Fuselage: Carbon fiber composite
Length: 5.73 meters (18 ft, 9.59 in)
Width: 3.62 meters (11 ft, 10.52 in)
Height 1.44 meters (4 ft, 8.69 in)
Windows: Canopy over cockpit
Wings: 1 low foreplane, 1 box wing (located mid-fuselage) and 1 rear horizontal stabilizer (mounted on top of two vertical stabilizers)
Landing gear: Fixed skid type landing gear
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 multiple types of safety features including software technology and sensors. The key safety features are to keep the pilot from crashing the aircraft by itself, so they don't crash the aircraft into other racing aircraft while racing, to keep pilots from flying too high or low and to protect crowds during the races. In summary, Alauda is developing their software to not only push the limits their aircraft to help pilots get the fastest possible speeds when racing, but also are including high-speed collision avoidance technology to ensure the safety of pilots when many vehicles are simultaneously racing.
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