Telstra Purple and Airspeeder plot a flying car future through digital infrastructure in new technical partnership

Air­speed­er, the world’s first rac­ing series for elec­tric fly­ing rac­ing cars, has signed a mul­ti-mil­lion dol­lar tech­ni­cal part­ner­ship with Tel­stra, Australia’s largest telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions com­pa­ny.

The rac­ing series, cre­at­ed by the world’s only per­for­mance elec­tric ver­ti­cal take-off and land­ing (eVTOL) man­u­fac­tur­er, Alau­da Aero­nau­tics will utilise Telstra’s suite of con­nec­tiv­i­ty tech­nolo­gies to deliv­er its glob­al series of elec­tric fly­ing car races. 

The part­ner­ship will see Telstra’s world-lead­ing imple­men­ta­tion of 5G dri­ven tech­nolo­gies sup­port Air­speed­er in its vision to accel­er­ate the elec­tric fly­ing car mobil­i­ty rev­o­lu­tion. Rac­ing pro­vides an impor­tant place and a space to rapid­ly devel­op key safe­ty, pow­er­train and engi­neer­ing ele­ments that will has­ten the arrival of an advanced air-mobil­i­ty future.

Matt Pear­son, Founder, Air­speed­er and Alau­da Aero­nau­tics, said: “In deliv­er­ing on our vision to cre­ate the world’s first rac­ing series for elec­tric fly­ing cars we have drawn to South Aus­tralia some of the very best tech­ni­cal minds from motor­sport, avi­a­tion and per­for­mance auto­mo­tive. We are delight­ed to add to this incred­i­ble tal­ent pool the capa­bil­i­ties of Australia’s most cel­e­brat­ed telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions com­pa­ny.

“Togeth­er, we will has­ten the arrival of a new mobil­i­ty tech­nol­o­gy that has been promised for gen­er­a­tions whilst bring­ing a new form of motor­sport to mil­lions of fans across the globe from some of the world’s most remote and beau­ti­ful loca­tions.” 

Alau­da Aero­nau­tics designs, engi­neers and builds the rac­ing craft that par­tic­i­pate in all Air­speed­er rac­ing events, while Air­speed­er EXA Series is Airspeeder’s first rac­ing series. It is where remote pilots take con­trol of the world’s first full-scale elec­tric fly­ing cars and will serve as the tech­ni­cal and pilot prov­ing ground for the world’s first crewed elec­tric fly­ing car races. Air­speed­er is the forth­com­ing crewed rac­ing series, which will race across the globe in 2022. 

For fly­ing cars to safe­ly reach their poten­tial as an urban trans­port solu­tion, a mobile fast-net­work infra­struc­ture has to exist. For Tel­stra, Air­speed­er rep­re­sents the per­fect test­ing ground for con­nec­tiv­i­ty and data man­age­ment tech­nolo­gies, enabled by 5G.

Telstra’s sup­port of Air­speed­er races will there­fore cre­ate the tech­nolo­gies today that will under­pin the dig­i­tal infra­struc­ture for autonomous and pilot­ed pas­sen­ger elec­tric vehi­cles to cities across the world. 

Head of Tel­stra Pur­ple, Christo­pher Smith said it played a vital role in sup­port­ing Airspeeder’s demand­ing require­ments in this new-age sport­ing and enter­tain­ment expe­ri­ence.

He said: “Cut­ting-edge rac­ing requires cut­ting-edge capa­bil­i­ty which we’ve deliv­ered through Tel­stra Purple’s exten­sive exper­tise, tech­ni­cal capa­bil­i­ties and our strate­gic col­lab­o­ra­tion agree­ment with AWS, com­bined with Australia’s most advanced 5G. 

“Key com­po­nents of Airspeeder’s race con­trol sys­tem include pri­vate net­work com­mu­ni­ca­tions, data visu­al­i­sa­tion, edge com­pute pow­er and bespoke app devel­op­ment. Our com­mu­ni­ca­tions exper­tise is crit­i­cal for a sport that is dri­ven by data from the ground up; the high speeds, low laten­cy and high-capac­i­ty con­nec­tiv­i­ty of Tel­stra 5G will change the way car rac­ing is expe­ri­enced.

“Just as For­mu­la One has dri­ven inno­va­tion for the cars we use today, Airspeeder’s vision for the world’s first elec­tric fly­ing car rac­ing series has the poten­tial to trans­form the way we move around cities.”

His­toric first flights of the Air­speed­er, Mk3, the world’s first ful­ly-func­tion­ing, full-sized fly­ing elec­tric race car took place in the deserts sur­round­ing the firm’s Ade­laide-based Tech­ni­cal HQ in June 2021. First remote­ly pilot­ed ‘EXA Series’ races will also take place this year.

Airspeeder’s vision is to deliv­er the world’s first ful­ly pilot­ed fly­ing car Grand Prix through 2022 and beyond. These will be staged where motor­sport has nev­er pre­vi­ous­ly been able to go, in some of the most visu­al­ly arrest­ing and remote scenery on the plan­et. 

Telstra’s rapid deploy­ment solu­tions play a vital role in mak­ing this pos­si­ble deliv­er­ing full 5G con­nec­tiv­i­ty in some of the world’s remotest set­tings. 


This con­nec­tiv­i­ty is vital to a sport and tech­nol­o­gy that is dri­ven by data from the ground up. For exam­ple, in devel­op­ing the Mk3 race­craft, Alau­da Aero­nau­tics has cre­at­ed a suite of safe­ty tech­nolo­gies known as the Vir­tu­al Fore­ce­field. This will pio­neer a sys­tems-based approach to safe­ty that will tran­si­tion from rac­ing into main­stream con­sumer pas­sen­ger usage. 

As part of this approach, Telstra’s 5G tech­nolo­gies will ensure the race-craft are in con­stant com­mu­ni­ca­tion with each oth­er. This means pilots, whether manoeu­vring the craft remote­ly or from the cock­pit will be able to fly close­ly with­out phys­i­cal­ly touch­ing. This will ensure close but ulti­mate­ly safe rac­ing with Speeder’s dig­i­tal­ly bump­ing rather than touch­ing via hap­tic alerts to the pilot sent when a race­craft reach­es close prox­im­i­ty to its com­peti­tor. 

Ter­abytes of essen­tial rac­ing and teleme­try data will also be streamed to ground crews. Indeed, Tel­stra has devel­oped a real-time vir­tu­al race-con­trol sys­tem that feeds essen­tial tech­ni­cal sta­tus infor­ma­tion to them through­out races and test flights. This reflects the approach employed by lead­ers in avi­a­tion in aug­ment­ing air­craft safe­ty through con­stant on-the-ground dig­i­tal mon­i­tor­ing of essen­tial sys­tems. 


As a tru­ly pro­gres­sive glob­al sport, Air­speed­er will pio­neer an entire­ly new approach to broad­cast­ing its races. Glob­al audi­ences will be able to watch and inter­act with the sport through a stream­ing-first approach more akin to eSports than tra­di­tion­al sport broad­cast­ing. 

Through its Broad­cast Ser­vices divi­sion, Tel­stra has also devel­oped inno­v­a­tive approach­es to bring­ing broad­cast audi­ences close to the action. This includes the man­age­ment of all on-board cam­eras for lead­ing motor­sport enti­ties. Togeth­er with Alauda’s engi­neer­ing and design teams, Tel­stra has devel­oped a net­work of cam­era place­ments that deliv­ers true pilot per­spec­tive to the mil­lions of view­ers stream­ing races across the globe. 

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Jason Pritchard

Jason Pritchard is the Editor of eVTOL Insights. He holds a BA from Leicester's De Montfort University and has worked in Journalism and Public Relations for more than a decade. Outside of work, Jason enjoys playing and watching football and golf. He also has a keen interest in Ancient Egypt.

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