This is the first ever manned racing drone | FOS Future Lab

21st February 2023
James Brodie

Is this the future of motorsport? When the new Airspeeder Mk4 gets off the ground, it could just be... We've seen the first three Airspeeders and even the first competitive race, but they were remotely operated. The reveal of the Mk4 is a big moment because this is the manned machine, which it aims to use in the world’s first crewed racing drone championship.


“We, and the world, are ready for crewed flying car racing. We have built the vehicles, developed the sport, secured the venues and attracted the sponsors and technical partners. Now is the time for the world’s most progressive, innovative and ambitious automotive brands, OEM manufacturers and motorsport teams to be part of a truly revolutionary new motorsport.” 

That’s the bold vision outlined by Alauda CEO Matt Pearson, who wants to attract proper racing teams and car/plane manufacturers to get involved with the racing series – entries are open right now.


The Mk4 has been designed and developed in Australia – Adelaide, to be precise. It’s an electric Vertical Take-Off and Landing craft (eVTOL), using hydrogen as fuel in combination with a 1,340PS (1,000kW) ‘turbogenerator’, which feeds power to the batteries and four external rotors.

The end result? The Mk4 can fly for over 188 miles, at speeds of up to 225mph. And Alauda claims these figures while highlighting the propulsion tech’s green credentials. The hydrogen is burnt to produce energy – the Mk4 is not a fuel cell aircraft – but the combustor burns the fuel at a low temperature, reducing NOx emissions. 


Alauda thinks that this isn’t just a potential doorway to cleaner commercial air travel in the future – it thinks that if the Mk4 Championship is successful, it could actually pave the way forward for a world where privately owned flying cars are a “daily reality".

“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. It’s a very exciting time,” claims Pearson. 

If you were unconvinced up to this point, the manned Airspeeder Mk4 is where things get serious. Whether it's the beginning of the flying car revolution we’ve been waiting for since the Jetsons hit our screens remains to be seen. We hope to see it in action soon...

Welcome to FOS Future Lab where we report on the latest visions of future technology. We'll be boldly covering flying cars, hoverboards, jetpacks and spaceships with plenty of down to earth topics in between.

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