Do you remember podracing in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace? If you’re like most people, that’s the only part you want to remember. But what if podracing were real? That’s what startup company Airspeeder seems to be asking with its new electric flying “race car,” a vehicle capable of doing 0-62 mph in 2.3 seconds.
We’re putting “race car” in quotes because Airspeeder’s vehicle doesn’t really qualify as a car. It doesn’t even have wheels for one. The Airspeeder Mk3 is realistically a giant vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) electric drone. Right now, concepts show a seat for a pilot, and Airspeeder plans to test crewed flights in the future, but for now, this is a remote control-only affair.
As the name suggests, this is the third version of the concept, and Airspeer has been hard at work for three years. And it’s using a team sourced with engineers from Mclaren, Babcock Aviation, Boeing, Jaguar Land Rover, Rolls-Royce, and Brabham to build the first versions of the Mk 3.
The idea is to start up a new racing series with pilots remotely controlling the Airspeeder. Considering its speeds and the danger involved, remote seems like a good idea. But the race should help Airspeeder prove the safety of its LiDAR and Radar Collision Avoidance systems. With that testing in place, human-piloted versions down the road should be an easier sell.
Airspeeder plans to test the vehicle soon and, assuming all goes well, announce more details about the races in the coming weeks.