Coober Pedy is well-known globally for its abundance of opals. But before the year’s end, it could become a hot spot for flying cars too.
The site, situated a nearly-nine hour drive from Adelaide, has been chosen for a new racing competition between electric flying cars, according to the ABC.
The company behind the idea is a Sydney-based aeronautics startup called Alauda, which has developed the Airspeeder — an oversized drone capable of reaching some pretty impressive speeds.
Making flying cars a reality
The company’s first Airspeeder, the MK2, is a driver-less 80-kilogram drone that can hit up to 60 kilometres per hour with up to six minutes battery time.
Its the MK4, however, that makes the concept of racing flying cars a reality. It can hold a human driver, hit up to 130 kilometres per hour and each battery has a lasting time of 10 minutes.
While it can technically hold a human, the Coober Pedy race later this year will remain driver-less, working to put the science fiction-like technology on exhibition to the world.
The idea is eventually the drone could be piloted by a human driver but it would take the approval of Australia’s aviation regulars, the Civil Aviation Safety Authority or CASA, to make that next step a possibility.
Alauda’s co-founder, Matt Pearson, told the ABC that Australia, and its vast desert-scapes, were the perfect place to put the drones to work.
“Australia’s been a great place to test drones, even Google and Amazon have chosen Australia for their test programs because of fairly advanced regulations,” Pearson said to the ABC.
“There’s an opportunity now for Australia to do that for the urban air mobility market, air taxis and flying cars.”
The race is yet to have an official date pencilled in but Gizmodo Australia, being the curious folk we are, have contacted Alauda to see when we would should put in our leave.