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.