Winner crowned in world’s first eVTOL Airspeeder EXA race
Oct 12 2022
A landmark moment in both the history of motorsport and the genesis of the flying car mobility revolution has been made in the salt flats of South Australia. Airspeeder pilot Zephatali Walsh beat fellow-competitor Fabio Tischler in a tense and close inaugural EXA remotely piloted race.
The May race was the first time two pilots were given full license to race their 4.1m long eVTOL race-craft blade-to-blade in a fully competitive remote race setting.
No concession to preserving their vehicles was made as the competitive instincts of born racers was on display from the very beginning of this historic first race, staged above the pink salt flats of Lake Lochiel near Adelaide, South Australia.
Every second of the 270+ test flights and thousands of hours of simulator preparation informed both competitors approach to securing their place in the history of motorsport and flying cars as the next great coming leap in human transportation.
This skill and commitment was on show from the very beginning, with three overtakes in the first lap alone. The most daring manoeuvre of all was rewarded with the ultimate victory, when Zephatali daringly overtook Tischler who had gone wide at Turn 1. On losing speed on exit, Zephatali made his move flying just 1 meter below his fellow competitor to secure the track position that ultimately led to this historic maiden victory. This move illustrated the scope for drama when racing craft at close quarters with F1 car turning ability and the third dimension of vertical maneuverability.
I just sent it!Zephatali Walsh Airspeeder EXA Pilot
The circuit race took place over a 1km digital sky-track, with the competition played out in two sessions punctuated by the rapid battery-swap pitstops that will add a compelling strategic layer to every EXA remotely piloted and ultimately Airspeeder crewed Grand Prix. The event was filmed by Aurora Worldwide Media and Airspeeder’s in-house media team.
This is the first of a series of EXA remotely piloted races that will serve as the development and feeder series for the Airspeeder fully crewed Grand Prixs starting in 2024. The race was commentated on by Bruno Senna, Airspeeder development pilot and ambassador and Nikki Shields, acclaimed motorsports broadcaster. This historic first race is just a taste of what is to come from a sport more than 3 years in the making. EXA Remotely piloted races will soon feature a much wider grid of pilots including Bruno Senna, former F1 and World Endurance Racing star.
These races will be staged in places where racing has never been seen before. Digital sky-tracks and a light approach to infrastructure means racing can take place in a range of locations and landscapes from marine to forest and desert settings.
To support this historic first race, Airspeeder built Race Control Stations, Pilot Control Station, test a cutting edge 5G network, Augmented Reality (AR) Sky Tracks, engineering and team control stations, akin to that seen in elite traditional motor racing. In addition they had to develop race rules and a full suite of safety, logistics and race management protocols. In turn, the technology used in racing is a snapshot of what our cities will be using in the next decade to underpin the emergence of electric flying cars (eVTOL) as a viable means of passenger transport.
Vehicle manufacturer and sister company Alauda Aeronautics has collaborated with technical partners, Telstra Purple, Acronis and Amazon Web Services throughout the development of these races to create the digital architecture that will drive the 5G enabled infrastructure needed to ensure the safe management of autonomous and piloted eVTOL vehicles in urban environments.
This collaborative approach to the development of not only a sport but the wider ecosystem will underpin the eVTOL mobility revolution extended to every one of Airspeeder and Alauda’s commercial and technical partners. This started with a knowledge exchange between Alauda’s expert team of engineers and the designers and specialists at the company’s Engineering and Timekeeping partner, IWC Schaffhausen. This ongoing dialogue serves as a vital light house in producing the highest quality racing machines with sustainability at the art of their purpose and function.
The Alauda and Airspeeder teams were also able to draw upon expertise from Acronis and Teknov8 in securing and managing vital telemetry and race data. The staging of the race was supported by the Government of South Australia which has nurtured an ecosystem of the world’s leading space and advanced aerospace companies. This extends to co-funding Alauda Aeronautics hyper-factory, a place where the world’s best performance flying cars will be built alongside space-craft, satellites and aircraft.