Watch 'Flying Cars' Racing in the Desert Ahead of New Motorsport Series

A technology company has released footage of a flying electric vehicle drag race as it plans to launch a racing series in 2022.

The video was released by Alauda Aeronautics via its Airspeeder racing company. Alauda, founded in 2016, designs what it calls "flying cars" or VTOL "multicopters"—essentially a large drone with a seat in the middle that uses eight sets of propellers to lift off. VTOL stands for Vertical Take-Off and Landing.

The vehicles featured in the drag race video are Alauda's Mk. 3 speeders, which can travel at speeds of up to 155 miles per hour using a 500 Kw battery to power their propellers, according to Electric VTOL News.

The footage shows how they take off vertically to a height of around 50 feet above a 300m purpose-built drag strip that had been assembled in the Flinders Ranges mountain region of South Australia.

The remote-controlled multicopters are being operated by two teams, named Alpha and Bravo, who are aiming to get theirs to the end of the drag strip before the other. During the course of the short race a speedometer displayed on the screen states the vehicles reached a speed of roughly 100 miles per hour.

The race can be seen on YouTube below.

Alauda said the event was a "pre-season test race." A company spokesperson told Newsweek that the first races of the series, which will be called EXA, are expected some time in early 2022. They will feature Mk. 3 speeders being controlled by competitors.

While the vehicles look hefty in size and have cockpits, they will not actually be driven by people sitting inside of them—for now, at least. Rather, the race series will feature remote models that are controlled by people on the ground.

Alauda say the cockpit will be fitted with a robot that will mimic the control inputs of the human pilot, which will help the company learn how human movement might affect flight in crewed races of the future.

The company's website also shows design plans for the Mk. 4, which is due to have a cockpit with a joystick and screen, suggesting they could be manned. The crewed Mk. 4 craft is due to be announced in 2022, a company spokesperson said.

Flying cars have often been portrayed in movies as having the appearance of a normal car that can fly by some unknown means of propulsion. In reality, it looks as though flying "cars" will actually be large drones with a central cockpit.

Alauda is not the only company exploring such vehicles. Only this week, Japanese company SkyDrive announced it had been granted a type certificate by the country's transport ministry.

The type certificate means the vehicle's design and performance have been assessed for aircraft safety.

SkyDrive launched one of its vehicles with a human operator inside of it in 2020, who flew it around a test field. The company plans to launch its "flying car" service in Japan's Osaka Bay area in 2025.

Airspeeder race
A photo of the Airspeeder drag race. The flying vehicles flew through the air, controlled by competitors. Alauda / Airspeeder