Alauda Aeronautics reveals hydrogen-powered Airspeeder Mk4 – first crewed flying racing car

The Airspeeder Mk4 – the first crewed version of Alauda Aeronautics’ airborne racing car – has been presented.

The fastest electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft in the world, the Airspeeder Mk4, was developed and produced in Adelaide, South Australia. It is intended to raise the bar for performance and technology in the revolutionary new sport of piloted Airspeeder racing, which can reach a top speed of 360 kph (225 mph) in just 30 seconds from a standing start.

With a predicted range of 300 km (188 miles) and almost zero emissions, the Airspeeder Mk4 is also incredibly efficient thanks to its clever electric propulsion system, excellent aerodynamics, and a take-off weight (MTOW) of just 950 kg.

The Mk4 is primarily meant for racing, like all Airspeeders, hence it is built for maximum agility at high speeds and low altitudes. The vehicle’s exceptional speed, maneuverability, and range are made possible by two space industry-inspired technologies.

A turbogenerator rated at 1,000 kW (1,340 horsepower) powers the batteries and motors on the Airspeeder Mk4. This ground-breaking technology enables the use of green hydrogen as fuel, supplying safe, dependable, and sustainable power over extended distances and flying times. It was specifically developed for use in eVTOLs. The Mk4’s estimated range is more than 300 kilometers (188 miles).

The demonstration “Thunderstrike” engine from Alauda Aeronautics features a special combustor created utilizing 3D printing technology used for rocket engines. The combustor’s design maintains a very low hydrogen flame temperature, which significantly lowers emissions of nitrous oxide (NOx).

Future aviation, and specifically private urban flight, is best fueled by hydrogen. Small aircraft can use it because of its high energy density and ability to store it in a lightweight, compact form; it is also non-toxic and emits only pure water, so it doesn’t pollute the air. In addition, because hydrogen gas is lighter than air, in the event of a leak, it will simply ascend and disperse into the atmosphere, lowering the risk of fire or explosion.

This technology has the ability to greatly reduce emissions while also advancing the current eVTOL sector into the next-generation H2eVTOL era. It might also pave the way for a sustainable future for private air travel.

The majority of eVTOLs use tilt-rotors to steer, which are simply placed vertically during takeoff and landing and horizontally during cruise. The Mk4 maneuvers, however, employing a special gimballed thrust system in which a flight controller with artificial intelligence (AI) independently adjusts four rotor pairs mounted on lightweight 3D printed gimbals. This makes the Mk4 maneuver with the remarkable precision required in close-action racing, in addition to making it fast in a straight line. In actuality, it handles more like a jet fighter or Formula 1 racing vehicle and less like a multicopter.

The Mk4 chassis and powertrain will start to undergo flight testing in the first quarter of 2023, along with the first crewed flights of the airframe. By 2024, the aircraft will be prepared to take off in the Airspeeder Racing Championship.

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