Airspeeder launches crewed hydrogen-electric Mk4

Alau­da Aero­nau­tics has unveiled the Air­speed­er Mk4, the first crewed ver­sion of its fly­ing rac­ing car and claimed to be the world’s fastest eVTOL air­craft with a top speed of 360 kph (225 mph).

Pow­ered by a hydro­gen tur­bo­gen­er­a­tor with a range of 300 km (188 miles), it boasts arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence gim­balled thrust to pro­duce the han­dling of a For­mu­la 1 car or fight­er jet. Flight test­ing is under­way in South Aus­tralia with the first crewed races sched­uled for 2024.

Alau­da Aero­nau­tics CEO Matt Pear­son com­ment­ed: “We, and the world, are ready for crewed fly­ing car rac­ing. We have built the vehi­cles, devel­oped the sport, secured the venues, and attract­ed the spon­sors and tech­ni­cal part­ners.

“Now is the time for the world’s most pro­gres­sive, inno­v­a­tive and ambi­tious auto­mo­tive brands, OEM man­u­fac­tur­ers and motor­sport teams to be part of a tru­ly rev­o­lu­tion­ary new motor­sport. In unveil­ing the crewed Air­speed­er Mk4 we show the vehi­cles that will bat­tle it out in blade-to-blade rac­ing crewed by the most high­ly-skilled pilots in their fields.”

Alau­da Aero­nau­tics is seek­ing OEM part­ners for the Mk4, which is capa­ble of reach­ing a top speed of 360 kph (225 mph) in just 30 sec­onds from a stand­ing start with its elec­tric propul­sion sys­tem, advanced aero­dy­nam­ics and take-off weight of just 950 kg, while pro­duc­ing near-zero emis­sions.

Mk4 is pow­ered by a one megawatt (1,340 horse­pow­er) tur­bo gen­er­a­tor to pow­er the bat­ter­ies and motors. The com­bus­tor design keeps the hydro­gen flame tem­per­a­ture rel­a­tive­ly low, reduc­ing nitrous oxide (NOx) emis­sions.

Most eVTOLs steer by using tilt-rotors posi­tioned ver­ti­cal­ly for take-off and land­ing and hor­i­zon­tal­ly while cruis­ing. In con­trast, Mk4 manoeu­vres by using gim­balled thrust where an AI flight con­troller indi­vid­u­al­ly adjusts four rotor pairs mount­ed on light­weight 3D print­ed gim­bals.

Alau­da Aero­space plans to begin flight test­ing the Mk4 chas­sis and pow­er­train, includ­ing the first crewed flights of the air­frame, in the first quar­ter of 2023. The air­craft will be ready to take the start line at the Air­speed­er Rac­ing Cham­pi­onship in 2024.

Alau­da Aero­nau­tics engi­neers and design­ers are drawn from com­pa­nies like Air­bus, Boe­ing, Fer­rari, Mag­niX and McLaren.

eVTOL Insights Editorial

This article was compiled by the eVTOL Insights editorial team.

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