While myriad EV car concepts are revealed each year, a startup called Airspeeder is aiming for the skies. CEO Matt Pearson revealed the project at the 2019 Goodwood Festival with a simple idea in mind: to be the first flying car series and let others worry about the “road” versions.
Founded in 2016, Airspeeder hopes to emulate pod racing just like in Star Wars and show the world that not only flying cars are real but the trend is globally being recognized. To know how close we are to seeing a flying race car series, Pearson said that Airspeeder will be the “world’s first high-speed flying EV race”. He added that their mission is to create the ultimate flying car that will become the catalyst to the racing industry in delivering a product that everyone can enjoy. That’s because racing has been the venue for unrestricted development – improving both safety and performance in cars, trains, planes, and the like.
Creating The Ultimate Flying Car
According to sources, Pearson said that their mission is to create the race that defines the ultimate flying car. For him, it’s not just an innovation project, but something that everyone will enjoy. By now, if 60s sci-fi is to be believed, we would have our meals in pill/tablet form, robot servants, and flying vehicles to take us to and from work. That’s not exactly the case. But the last point, we’re getting closer.
While more and more manufacturers are getting involved in vehicle electrification and competition, certification and regulation concerns are looming on the horizon. Airspeeder’s job is to create a safe space for further research and development without having to worry about such things. Pearson said that planes used to have a speed of just 40 mph. Now, we have planes that can even break the speed of sound. He added that without racing, competition, and development, planes wouldn’t have developed so quickly.
He also aims for the industry to provide the best technology available without having to worry too much about other costs. He wants the company to have a safe and controlled environment to push its technologies to the limit.
Lessons learned from engine, aerodynamics, and every other component that makes up flying cars can be refined and applied to civilian and military vehicles. Since racing is all about performance and safety, all the basics can be taken for granted in cars.
Aiming For The Skies
The Airspeeder race series will be populated by vehicles designed and built by Alauda – also owned by Pearson. Alauda, the company behind flying cars, is currently testing its Mk III – eventually to be replaced by the Mk IVs, which will be the ones for racing. The previous design is essentially a drone with room for a person to take over the controls once it’s safe to do so. Pearson mentioned that the first flying car race is now only a matter of months away.
The Mk III, in its full carbon fiber design, is intended to be flown unmanned but there’s space for a human once it’s deemed safe to do so. After all, it’s not your typical aviation ride. It’s a tough one, but Pearson and his team nailed it.
The controls are scaled up similar to an Xbox controller. However, its safety limits remain to be seen. Pulling G-forces can be done in many ways, but once you’ve got a person up there, it will be different.
How did the startup become so successful until now? Simple: perseverance. After many trials, eventually, the team expanded until they’re finally able to make Airspeeder a reality. To date, Airspeeder isn’t ready for human trials, but they will start trials by 2021. As far as pilots go, Pearson said there has already been a huge interest among pilots and drivers of all kinds to take the helm for planned 2022 racing.
Competitions In Airspeeder
The planned competition will become more complex as the concept is proven. First, it will be time trials, then drag races, then pursuit, until it becomes a full-grid traditional one.
You might worry that two or more Airspeeders might collide as the field becomes jam-packed. That won’t be the case since each multicopter will be surrounded by a virtual bubble to gently nudge competitors away from each other – kind of like repelling magnets. Think of it like Star Trek’s Enterprise raising its shields, cool right?
The events will be held in deserts or in wide places where there are no obstacles. And as far as viewing goes, try to imagine an Esports vibe.
The Future Of Airspeeder
Well, the company plans to get the attention of other top-tier motorsports teams, like Formula One. It seems that technology, aviation, motorsport, and automotive industries are planning to put on a hell of a show to make the future the present. Perhaps, much as it seems to imagine a world without smart devices today, one day it will be bizarre that there was a time before flying EVs. But we’ll see.
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