Luxury Swiss watchmaker IWC Schaffhausen has joined forces with Airspeeder, the world’s first electric flying car racing series, in a new engineering and timekeeping partnership.
The Airspeeder racing series is the brainchild of founder Matt Pearson, who also runs Alauda – the world’s first performance electric flying car manufacturer. The planned global race series will eventually see a full grid of eVTOL aircraft manufactured by Alauda, managed by individual teams and operated by elite pilots.
It will see the aircraft compete at height of up to 40 metres off the ground and travelling at top speeds of 200 km/h. The air races will take place on electronically created tracks and be streamed globally, to minimise the environmental impact of more complex logistics and infrastructure.
Pearson said: “Time and again, IWC has enabled dreams and nurtured innovation. Like us, they see beyond the known horizon towards something different, bolder and more inventive. This commitment to progress is something we also value, and we are delighted that the entire team at Schaffhausen believes in our vision.
“Whether the result is a beautifully designed watch or a revolutionary flying car, we all rely on human and technical endeavour to make truly impactful change through giant technical leaps. I can’t wait to see what we can achieve together.”
Over its 150 year history, IWC Schaffhausen has developed a reputation for creating functional complications, especially chronographs and calendars. A pioneer in the use of titanium and ceramics, IWC today specialises in highly engineered technical watch cases manufactured from advanced materials, such as titanium- aluminide and Ceratanium®.
Christoph Grainger-Herr, IWC CEO, said: “It’s fantastic to play a part in bringing Matt’s bold vision to life. The Airspeeder team are true pioneers of aviation and they are bringing together two things that are really close to IWC’s heart.
“From making some of the planet’s best pilots’ watches for the last eighty years to the cut and thrust of modern automotive design and racing, we have always equipped and inspired those who dare to dream. We are proud to collaborate on an endeavour that will make such a progressive impact on society.”
Airspeeder developed its first small-scale prototype performance eVTOL in 2017 and has continued to finesse the design ever since through computer modelling and simulation, as well as extensive testing.
Its newest vehicle, the Mk3, is the world’s first fully functional electric flying racing car, and features an octocopter layout, airfoil-profiled rotor arms, cutting- edge carbon-fibre composites and the latest EV battery technology.
Airspeeder has said new advances in safety are delivered through a suite of technologies and engineering elements never before seen on an eVTOL aircraft. These innovations include LiDAR and Radar collision avoidance systems that create a ‘virtual force field’ around the craft to ensure close but ultimately safe racing.
An entire grid of these remotely piloted Mk3s is currently being built ahead of this year’s competitive pilotless events. The Mk4 is expected to launch in 2022, before the inaugural crewed season gets underway.