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MK4 – Meet the first EVTOL Manned Crew

The Airspeeder Mk4 can go from a complete stop to its maximum speed of 360 km/h (that’s about 224 mph) in just 30 seconds.

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A lot of the technology we use in regular cars today was first created to help race cars go faster. In light of that, Matt Pearson, an entrepreneur from Australia, birthed an idea. He is of the stance that if we want to make flying cars go faster, we should turn it into a race. So, his company Alauda started to make what is a racing drone that could be flown by a human.

Thus, Pearson stated “It is about time we had flying cars. Racing is a great way to make technology better. It’s not enough to just build the flying car; we have to create a whole new sport. Our goal is to bring the excitement and values of Formula 1 up into the sky”. You can get more exciting information about flying cars at FuturePlay News.

The MK1

Further, in 2017, Matt Pearson started a crowdfunding project on Kickstarter. The purpose is to push the wild idea of making electric flying cars that can take off and land vertically and be turned into a cool racing sport. The company called it the Alauda Mark 1 Airspeeder.

This flying car is designed to carry one pilot and zoom up to a top speed of 250 km/h (155 mph). It is powered by four special 50-kilowatt electric motors, which use the same kind of batteries found in a Tesla Model S. The car itself was proposed to be lightweight, made from aerospace aluminum and carbon fiber, with a total weight of around 120 kg (265 lb) and a power-to-weight ratio of 1.66.

The MK3

After conducting over 350 test flights and even having two races to show off their remote-controlled Airspeeder Mk3 flying car, Alauda Aeronautics has now unveiled the blueprint for their first flying car meant for human pilots. This speedy vehicle can go as fast as 360 kilometres per hour and cover a distance of up to 300 kilometres on a single charge.

In 2019, the Airspeeder made its big debut worldwide. They even made a real, full-sized flying car in early 2021, and after a lot of testing and fine-tuning, they had a cool race with a remote-controlled flying car later that year. In 2022, they had another race with a different flying car, but this time, there was no one inside; it was controlled remotely.

Now, they have displayed pictures of their new flying car, the Mk4, that will have people in it. It now features a whole new design, and it is about 18.79 feet long, 11.87 feet wide, 4.72 feet high, and weighs around 2,094 pounds.

The MK4 and the First EVTOL Manned Crew

Jack Withinshaw, who is the Co-founder and Chief Commercial Officer of the company, says that some of the biggest car companies we know today, like Ferrari, Ford, Renault, and Rolls Royce, started by racing their cars before making fancy ones for regular people. He explains that their main goal is to create new ways for people to travel in the air privately, and racing is just the first step toward that dream. So, it is much like racing helped kick start the car industry a long time ago.

Thus, Alauda Aeronautics is talking to several potential partners who make vehicles, like cars and aeroplanes, to work together on technology. The company is getting ready to do the first test flights with people in their Airspeeder Mk4 flying race car.

Even though the Airspeeder is built for a new kind of racing, Alauda has always seen it as a way to try out and test new technology. This includes making engines that are better for the environment and could change the way we get around in the future.

Now, while the Mk3 flying car was fully electric and ran on batteries, the Mk4 has something different under the hood. It has a powerful 1,000-kilowatt hydrogen engine, which is like having 1,340 horsepower, to charge up the batteries and make the motors go. They call this engine the Thunderstrike, and it is made in a special way using 3D printing, kind of like how they make rocket engines for space.

This special design keeps the engine from getting too hot and causing pollution. Technically, they plan to use ‘green’ hydrogen, which is environmentally friendly, as fuel to keep the Earth’s carbon footprint as low as possible.

The Airspeeder Mk4 can go from a complete stop to its maximum speed of 360 km/h (that’s about 224 mph) in just 30 seconds. It has four sets of protected rotors attached to special moving parts made with 3D printing. Additionally, it also features a smart computer that uses artificial intelligence to control the angles of the rotors for taking off and flying.

This means the Mk4 is not just super-fast in a straight line, but it can also make really precise moves, which is super important in close-up racing. It handles more like a fancy jet fighter or a speedy Formula 1 racing car than a regular drone.

Also, the Airspeeder Mk4 has a design that is a lot like a Formula 1 race car. It features a frame made of strong carbon fibre and has big air vents at the front and back, along with small wings in the middle of its body (rear wings). You can also spot cameras, sensors, and communication equipment attached to it.

In corroborating the news of this development is the statement of Withinshaw, the Co-founder and Chief Commercial Officer of the company. He avers that the Airspeeder Mk4 is the first flying race car that can carry people. Before this one, they had a Mk3, which couldn’t carry people and did more than 350 test flights. It covered 700 kilometres of an augmented reality race track, went as fast as 150 kilometres per hour, and even raced on a track at Lake Lochiel salt flats in South Australia.

He further advanced that to make all this happen, they had to build over 10 Mk3s and train a group of both male and female pilots. They also had to create all the things needed to keep three Airspeeders racing. This includes special race tracks in the sky, fast 5G internet connections, control systems for the races, systems for the pilots to control the vehicles, and lots of other tech features. According to him, “It is like a big system that is similar to what our future cities might need to have flying cars for regular travel”.

Matt Pearson also started the MK4 EVTOL project. He posited thus “We are all set for racing flying cars with human pilots, and we believe the world is ready too. We have created the vehicles, built the sport, arranged the places where races will happen, and gathered support from sponsors and tech partners. This is the moment for the most forward-thinking car companies, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), and motorsport teams to join a completely groundbreaking new kind of motorsport. When we reveal the crewed Airspeeder Mk4, we are showing you the vehicles that talented pilots will fly in intense, close-quarters races.”

Conclusion

Conclusively, the Airspeeder Mk4 was proposed to be shown to the public for the first time at the Southstart Innovation Festival in Southern Australia on March 9. The company behind it, Alauda, has already started testing it for flight, and they are accepting entries from teams who want to compete in the crewed racing series. The first races in this flying car should take place in 2024.

Sport Enthusiast, Builder of brands, and proud founder of Machina Sports, dedicated to pioneering the fusion of human athleticism with cutting-edge technology. Committed to creating a global platform and brand that celebrates the excitement and innovation inherent in Machina Sports while engaging a diverse community of enthusiasts and athletes worldwide.

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Drone

The Future of Racing: Beyond Wheels and Into the Skies

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How flying cars and jet suit racing are redefining the boundaries of sports.

In a world obsessed with speed, the race track has long been a battleground for the most audacious of dreamers. 

It’s where innovation meets adrenaline, where the sound of engines and the screech of tires on asphalt have defined generations of speed fans. 

But as we stand on the brink of a new era, the race track is no longer confined to the limitations of the ground. We are entering an age where the sky becomes the ultimate racing frontier, and the boundaries of sports are being redefined right before our eyes.

Believe it or not — we already have a virtual reality gates for the flying cars. 

Growing up, I was mesmerised by speed. The faster, the better. Cars, bikes, rollerblades — if it could move, I wanted to see how fast it could go. Yet, even in my wildest dreams, flying cars were a fantasy reserved for superheroes and sci-fi movies. 

Little did I know, the future of racing was quietly brewing, not in the pages of comic books, but within the labs and minds of engineers and visionaries around the world.

And I was a part of it. — Lexie Janson, a flying car racing pilot

Lexie Janson (racing pilot) and her flying car.

When Dreams Take Flight

The pursuit of flying cars has long captured the human imagination. It’s a symbol of our desire to break free, to defy the very laws of nature that have bound us. But what once seemed like a distant dream is now palpably close. 

Companies around the globe are developing flying cars, not just as luxurious gimmicks, but as the next big thing in personal transport and, more importantly, in racing.

Imagine cities hosting grand prix events not on closed circuits, but above them, with flying cars racing between skyscrapers, iconic landmarks, and down the riverbeds. 

And of course — crashing, which is a way less desirable part of it. 

Maybe let’s skip landmarks and historically important spots. 

The skillset for pilots in this new era goes beyond steering and braking. It is a mix of jet fighter pilot and Formula 1 driver. It’s about surviving the G-forces, creating a strategy for 3D circumstances and quick reaction times (especially if another pilot comes from above or below). 

Jet suit racing (Iron Man!?)

If flying cars promise to redefine racing on a macro scale, jet suit racing touches upon the individual’s quest for speed (and nerdy dreams of becoming an Iron Man)

Picture this: racers dressed in jet suits, lifting off from the ground, powered by the sheer force of technology strapped to their backs and hands. This sport requires an extreme core balance and body control strength. One missed move may mean crashing or spinning uncontrollably. 

“Oh, this is still an imagination,” you may say. But it’s not. It’s real:

CHeck out our vlog from the Gravity.co test flight vlog

In February 2024, Dubai, UAE — Gravity.co has conducted the first jetsuit race in the world. In this historical event 8 pilots have been fighting for the title of the first champion. The event had it all: crash into the water, disqualification, a pilot “losing it” and extreme circumstances. 

The final race lasted 90 seconds.

Its winner — Issa Kalfon has left his name on the pages of history for ever. An ex-gymnast claims that his past career path was one of the deciding factors in his training and win. Because machina sports are not just about the machines. It’s about human and the machine. 

Jet suit racing isn’t just about who crosses the finish line first; it’s a testament to human ambition and ingenuity. Each race pushes the boundaries of what’s possible, challenging pilots to outmanoeuvre their opponents while maintaining control over their high-powered suits. 

It’s exciting, nerve-wracking and extreme.

But Gravity.co is not only about racing. Their jetsuit is also created to help medics get to their patients in less favourable spots, transportation and military use. 

Gravity.co Dubai Race promotional picture

FPV Drone Racing — Esports and athletes

But not all the new sports require athletes to get into any type of a suit. FPV Drone racing is a discipline that connects esports with athletic abilities. 

As esports players get their time in the gym for reaction times, cardio, and general health — FPV Pilots need to do the same to withstand the stress and pressure during their races. 

It’s not all about the drones that one can buy in the store. It’s mostly self-built racing drones that can fly with a speed of 200km/h. 

FPV Racing Drone during MultiGP Sharjah event (owned photo)

During an FPV Race 4–8 pilots fly the FPV Drones through an obstacle track. Pilots see what their drones see in real time through FPV Goggles, and control them via an RC controller. 

Pilots often experience midair collisions, crashes, and exciting chases throughgout the race. But is it a spectator sport? Yes! In the recent event MultiGP Sharjah — FPV Drone Racing has reached a brand new level of spectator-friendly event. The audience could see what the pilots saw on the screens, but also “line of sight”. And the view? Easy to understand, and pretty exciting. If you are interested in more visuals — check out our vlog.

Long-exposure picture of the race in Sharjah (owned)

The Evolution of the Spectator

The sports as we know them haven’t changed much in the last decades, as the human bodies have limited capabilities. This is why machina sports are popping here and there showing that human and the machine mean even more excitement and a new, fresh outlook on sports and athletes. 

As racing seems to take to the skies, so too must our conception of spectatorship evolve. Traditional racetracks may transform into multi-dimensional arenas, offering views from below, above, and all around.

Can you imagine!?

Lexie Janson and her flying car (licensed photo)

Fans might follow races through augmented reality interfaces, experiencing the flight from the perspective of their favourite pilots. With the virtual reality tracks — the world becomes a stage, turning spectators into an integral part of the racing narrative.

And I guess we are all here for it. 

Embracing the Future

The migration of racing from wheels to the skies is more than an evolution in sports; it’s reimagining of human potential. 

Picture cyborgs…

In this era of air racing, every pilot’s journey, every race, every breathtaking moment reminds us of our collective drive to break barriers and explore new horizons.

As a child, I could only dream of such marvels. Yet, as we stand on the cliff of this thrilling future, it’s clear that those dreams weren’t just flights of fancy (pun intended). 

They were visions of what was to come. 

The future of racing is here, and it’s inviting us to look upwards, to the skies where the next chapter of human achievement is waiting to unfold (and entertain).


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