Airspeeder is the world's first racing series for manned flying electric cars. The sport involves racing electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) flying cars around digitally governed tracks in the sky at heights of between 10m and 60m and at speeds of upto 160 kmph.
Teams and manufacturers will be supplied with hardware by Australian company Alauda Aeronautics as a turn-key solution. That provides close and equitable racing, so that victories are secured by having the best strategy and airmanship. Airspeeder will start with two teams, but will grow to 10 teams and 20 airspeeders by 2022.
During the test and development stage, Alauda Aeronautics needed a radio communications system to connect the pilot, who at that point was flying the aircraft remotely, and the flight test director, and the engineers, who required a group calling solution. The radio system then had to be developed to provide communications during the forthcoming Airspeeder EXA Series, where pilots will remotely control the vehicles.
Following these two stages, a radio system was also required to take care of the communication needs for the crewed Airspeeder electric flying cars races. The radio system will be used by pilots, the racing teams and their engineers, and the race management team responsible for managing the actual running of the manned Airspeeder races.
Airspeeder and the engineering team at sister-company Alauda Aeronautics reached out to local Hytera partner D2N Technology Solutions based in New South Wales, Australia. Alauda knew the company had an excellent reputation in the sports industry, including motorsports, and was looking to see if D2N could come up with a reliable comms solution for the Airspeeder race programme.
D2N managing director, Jason Owen, explained: "Race Management needs the ability to communicate with each team as a group to dynamically respond to racing condition changes. To meet all of their requirements we suggested they invest in a high-end radio system, as this would take care of the teams’ needs and form the foundation of the race management solution moving forward.”
The comms solution proposed and supplied by D2N consists of Hytera Digital Mobile Radio (DMR) PD662 hand portable radios and Raytalk RAN-1000A noise-cancelling headsets. Owen said: "To improve the noise cancelling, we adjusted the EQ on the 662 to get better performance. We also run encryption on the channels to ensure there is absolute privacy.”
Owen added: "We also built some custom wiring setups for the pilots, so they could key up the radio whilst flying the vehicle. The headset we provided for the pilots allows for the connection of multiple radios and a race control channel. The evolution of these clever pieces of kit come from our long history of developing and supplying specialist headsets for motorsport.”
The Hytera PD662 handheld digital two-way radio is a compact, high quality device with LCD screen and programmable keys. It is just 27mm thick and weighs only 310g, while its 16-hour battery life makes it ideal for long shifts. It is highly ruggedised as it is IP67-rated, so it can cope with harsh outdoor racing conditions.
The radio setup enables engineering teams, pilots and race management staff to all seamlessly communicate with each other and experience clear audio thanks to the quality of the Hytera radios and the noise cancelling technology deployed. The Hytera DMR solution can also be easily scaled up to meet the expanding communications requirements of this new sport as it grows in the future.
Hytera radios have provided Airspeeder with a highly reliable communications solution adapted to suit the sports particular needs. Many other types of sport can benefit from deploying similar solutions to improve their communications and the efficiency with which sporting events are run.