Electric Air Race has just taken a big step forward. The edge reports this Airspeeder recently completed the first test flight for its electric flying racing car, the Alauda Aeronautics Mk3. A remote pilot flew an unmanned version of the eVTOL aircraft over South Australia, with the country’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority overseeing the test.
The machine can reach altitudes of up to 1,640 feet and reach 62 MPH in 2.8 seconds. Remote pilots fly in a cockpit-like environment via virtual routes, with LiDAR and radar helping to prevent collisions. Basically, the design is about minimizing downtime. While the Airspeeder racer can only fly for up to 15 minutes with a charge, teams can swap out batteries in as little as 20 seconds.
The test flight sets the stage for a three-event unmanned EXA race series, which will begin later in 2021, which will feature up to four teams with two pilots each. Data from these competitions, including dummy “telerobotic” avatars in cockpits, will ideally lead to directly human-driven races in 2022.
Airspeeder will always face many challenges of electric flight, including short life batteries. All the same, this test and the following races suggest that EV air races are quickly becoming practical. Perhaps it’s more about refining the technology than having it fly through the skies in the first place.
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