A flying electric racing car has taken its first publicised flight in the South Australian desert ahead of a planned racing series that will change the face of the sport.
Taking to the air under the name EXA, the high-pitched whirring of electricity-driven motors and propellors of the aircraft designed by Airspeeder, the brainchild of parent company Alauda, is a world apart from the rumble of the imaginary pod races of Star Wars fame.
But the atmosphere promises to be just as exciting. Billed as the “next generation of racing”, the first unmanned Airspeeder races are set to start later in 2021 according to a Youtube post published by the company on Thursday.
“Nothing drives innovation like racing. The world is ready for advanced air mobility and we are proud to make history by introducing the world’s first racing series for flying electric cars,” founder of Airspeeder and Alauda Matthew person is reported as saying.
“Airspeeder and EXA represent the future of motorsport and a compelling and exhilarating showcase of the potential of electric flying cars as this generation’s defining mobility revolution.”
The first Airspeeder race will see a grid of what are essentially giant drones take to the air, controlled by “the best” unmanned aircraft pilots from around the globe, whose movements are mimicked by “avatars” sitting in the aircraft that have all the appearance of a clone soldier.
Using cutting edge technology, the pilots will attempt to perform stunning hairpin turns along digitally mapped airborne tracks at speeds of up to 250km per hour, while advanced LiDAR sensors ensure the aircraft do not collide.
The new video below comes just weeks after the Australian company signed up for the United Nations’ Sports for Climate Action pledge, joining the likes of The International Olympic Committee, The FIA, Formula E, Extreme E, and The New York Yankees.
While a date for the first race has not yet been announced, the racing series will certainly get spectator heartbeats pumping. Three locations in total for the new racing series are yet to be revealed – so stay tuned.
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She has been writing about electric vehicles since 2018, and has a keen interest in the role that zero-emissions transport has to play in sustainability. She has participated in podcasts such as Download This Show with Marc Fennell and Shirtloads of Science with Karl Kruszelnicki and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum. Bridie also owns a Tesla Model 3 and has it available for hire on evee.com.au.