Crewed Flying Race Car Debuts in Australia

Alauda Aeronautics unveiled the Airspeeder MK4, which will compete in the first crewed races planned for 2024.

The company’s racing multicopters are developed at its advanced aerospace engineering hub in Adelaide, South Australia by engineers drawn from elite motorsports, automotive, aviation and even FPV drone, electric plane, electric vehicles and passenger drone backgrounds. [Courtesy Alauda Aeronautics]

Alauda Aeronautics may be ushering in a new era with its release of the Airspeeder MK4, its first crewed flying race car. The company touts the hydrogen-powered car as the world’s fastest eVTOL aircraft, with a top speed of 225 mph. 

Alauda plans to publicly unveil the MK4 at the Southstart innovation festival on March 9. It will begin crewed flight testing this spring, and expects the flying car to race in its Airspeeder Racing Championship next year.

And what will Airspeeder race? Itself. Team entries are open for crews to join the roster in a competition of skill in Alauda flying cars. 

The MK4’s Thunderstrike engine utilizes 3D-printed parts and technology developed for rocket engines. The engine emissions will be pure water, primarily. The MK4 uses a gimballed thrust system and artificial intelligence flight control adjustments for steering, which the company says is far more precise than the tilt-rotor steering used by most eVTOLs. 

Alauda hopes that the technology will go beyond what it touts as the next Formula One. 

CEO Matt Pearson envisions transforming the world as we know it. “In conventional aerospace, there are about as many private jets as there are commercial jets in operation. We believe it could be the same with flying cars one day, with a roughly similar number of commercial taxis and private cars initially,” he said in a statement. 

“Once we can sell you a flying car for the same price as a Tesla, you’ll quickly see the balance shift. Today, private cars outnumber taxis by about 300 to one, so the potential for people to own and drive their own flying car one day is absolutely enormous," he added. "It’s a very exciting time.” 

More information about the Airspeeder Racing Championship may be found here.

Amy Wilder is managing editor for Plane & Pilot magazine. She fell in love with airplanes at age 8 when her brother-in-law took her up in a Cessna 172. Pretty soon, Amy's bedroom walls were covered with images of vintage airplanes and she was convinced she'd be a bush pilot in Alaska one day. She became a journalist instead, which is also somewhat impractical—but with fewer bears. Now she's working on her private pilot certificate and ready to be a lifelong student of the art of flying.

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