Alauda has unveiled the Airspeeder MK3, a full-sized remotely-operated electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) vehicle designed for racing. The first of its kind, the MK3 is set to be showcased in an upcoming racing series that will serve as a technical test-bed and “feeder series” to the manned series in 2022. Currently, a full grid of MK3 models are being manufactured at Airspeeder and Alauda’s HQ in Adelaide, South Australia, and over 10 models will be provided to teams in 2021.
Final pre-season tests will be conducted behind closed doors in Australia before the start of an international racing calendar, where the initial MK3 races will provide crucial data on vehicle dynamics, performance, safety, and powertrain technology that will aid in the development of the Airspeeder MK4, the manned version. The MK3 will be operated remotely from the ground for all flights.
The MK3 is capable of reaching speeds in excess of 120 kph (75 mph) in flight, and features LiDAR and Radar collision avoidance systems that create a ‘virtual forcefield’ around the craft. Safety features also include a carbon fiber frame and fuselage designed for maneuverability, performance, and efficiency. According to Alauda, “The powertrain represents a significant upgrade on the Mk2 proof of concept vehicle, with power increased by 95% with only a 50% increase in weight.” The MK3 possesses a 96 kW electric powertrain that gives the MK3 a thrust to weight ratio above two, and the entire vehicle only weighs 100 kg (220 lb) unmanned.
The MK3 is laid out in an ‘octocopter X formation’, which according to Alauda, will provide significant advantages to a pilot when the MK4 is released. When racing, a pilot in the MK series speeder will be able to make the same sharp “hairpin style” turns as a Formula 1 car on top of being able to move in the vertical direction. Furthermore, Alauda’s engineers have developed a ‘slide and lock’ battery system facilitating rapid removal and insertion of batteries, allowing for rapid pit stops.
Why it’s important: As well as being the first vehicle of its kind, the MK3 speeder, the first aerial mobility vehicle designed for racing purposes, shows the overall growth of the aerial mobility industry. The industry continues to improve, not only in transportation but in the development of other related sectors as well.
Source // Alauda Press Release