Flying cars set to race in Australian outback

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CANBERRA, June 22 (Xinhua) -- A start-up has announced that it will hold flying car races in the South Australian (SA) outback before the end of 2020.

Airspeeder, which is based in SA and London, has developed flying cars that use drone technology to hover and manoeuvre.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Airspeeder co-founder Matthew Pearson said that the 2020 was a significant year for the industry with the company set to host full-scale flying car races in the SA outback.

"With electric aviation, with the drone industry, with the autonomous vehicle industry boom -- all the technology that makes autonomous electric cars possible, are making the electric flying cars industry," he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) on Sunday.

He said that Airspeeder's cars, which have a chassis similar to that of a Formula 1 car, were cheaper than helicopters.

"A helicopter has thousands of moving parts, and a single point of failure which makes them very expensive to maintain," Pearson said.

"An air taxi has about 16 moving parts and about half of those are redundant, so it's a very safe, very stable platform."

"Taxis are a great thing to do with this technology, but we also think that there's a great place to fuel innovation in racing," he added.

"Racing has always driven technology innovation more than anything else."

Airspeeder has been granted approval from the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) to fly large-scale commercial drones but does not have a license for them to be piloted by in-car drivers, meaning that the outback race will be controlled from the ground.

Pearson said that Australia could be emerging as a world-leader in the flying car industry after Uber in February announced Melbourne as one of three cities where it will trial air taxis.

"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.

"There's an opportunity now for Australia to do that for the urban air mobility market, air taxis and flying cars." Enditem

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