After years of “remote piloting,” Alauda Aeronautics today revealed its Airspeeder MK4—the crewed version. The company said in a statement that the one-person electric racing machine will have a top speed of 225 mph, and potential range of 180 miles. It will be powered by a Thunderstrike Hydrogen Turbogenerator connected to electric motors on the eVTOL wings.
CEO Matt Pearson called for manufacturers and motorsport teams to join the fledgling electric racing circuit. “We show the vehicles that will battle it out in blade-to-blade racing crewed by the most highly skilled pilots in their fields,” he said in a statement.
The company said that the first crewed races will happen in 2024. The initial unmanned races, with remote-control pilots, took place last October, with no crashes.
The aircraft will have a weight of 2,095 pounds, minus the pilot. The company claims it will be able to reach the 225 mph top speed in 30 seconds. Power comes from a 1,000 kW (1,340 hp) turbogenerator, which Alauda says allows for green hydrogen to be used as a potential fuel source.
Most eVTOLs use tilt-rotors to steer, but the Mk4 has a gimbaled thrust system. An Artificial Intelligence (AI) flight controller adjusts four rotor pairs mounted on the 3-D-printed gimbals. The design allows for more precise steering than a conventional rotorcraft.
Pearson is looking to the future, forecasting a day where flying cars are common in the skies.
“Once we can sell you a flying car for the same price as a Tesla, you’ll quickly see the balance shift,” he says. “Today, private cars outnumber taxis by about 300 to one, so the potential for people to own and drive their own flying car is absolutely enormous.”
The crewed Mk4 will commence with flight testing sometime this quarter, while the unmanned version has accrued 350 test flights.