World's First Flying Car Race Tears Up The Australian Desert

A real-life podrace recently took place in the dusty badlands of Adelaide.


Tom Hale


Tom Hale

Senior Journalist

Tom is a writer in London with a Master's degree in Journalism whose editorial work covers anything from health and the environment to technology and archaeology.

Senior Journalist

Two remotely operated flying cars race in the Australian desert.
The VTOL (electric vertical take-off and landing) racers were developed by Alauda Aeronautics and consist of crewless four-rotor flying vehicles that are powered by electricity. Image credit: Airspeeder.

The world’s first flying car race has taken flight across the pink salt flats of South Australia, and it looks just as awesome as it sounds.

In the first race of its kind, pilots Zephatiali Walsh went head-to-head with Fabio Tishcler, guiding their remotely operated flying vehicles around the 1-kilometer-long (0.6 miles) circuit near Adelaide that was outlined using augmented reality technology.


The 4.1 meters (over 13 feet) quadcopters reached speeds of around 100 kilometers (62 miles) per hour, achieving lap times of just under 40 seconds. 

The race was tight, complete with some very tight corner turns and numerous risky overtaking maneuvers, but Walsh eventually managed to take the top place on the podium. 

Engineers look at a flying vehicle before the race.
An eVTOL flying vehicle pre-flight. Image credit: AirSpeeder

“As soon as the lights turned green, we became racers competing for a place in the history of this sport and flying cars as the coming transportation revolution. I couldn’t be prouder to know that forever more I’ll be the first winner of an electric flying car race and I look forward to retaining my crown as we go racing around the world in the coming months,” Walsh said in a statement sent to IFLScience.

The two eVTOL (electric vertical take-off and landing) racers were developed by Alauda Aeronautics and consist of crewless four-rotor flying vehicles that are powered by electricity. 


For the moment, the races remain remotely operated. However, they hope to start rolling out crewed flights by 2023. You can watch the race's highlights below. 

The eVTOL racers have previously performed a straight drag race in South Australia, but this is the first race that’s seen the flying vehicles compete in a twisting and turning circuit. 

Alauda Aeronautics has high aspirations for their vehicles and believes it could someday become a new form of motorsport that rivals Formula 1 racing. They even believe this technology could be on the cusp of a great revolution in transportation. 

“Every transformative moment in human transportation has been accelerated by motorsport. As we stand on the cusp of the 21st century’s great leap forward in delivering on the promise of flying cars, the role competition plays is as important as ever," said Matt Pearson, founder of the Airspeeder racing series. 


“For this reason, in winning the world’s first flying car race, Zephatali Walsh hasn’t just made motorsport history but writes his own chapter in the genesis of a mobility revolution. This is just the start, this first race offers only a glimpse of our promise to deliver the most progressive, transformative, and exciting motorsport in the world. We look forward to delivering many more races and breath-taking moments."


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