The French company Maca Flight promises series production of the aircraft with artificial intelligence by 2023. All the signs are that we are getting closer and closer to the age of flying cars, with one company after another emerging to bring this characteristic element of science fiction closer to reality. A number of smaller companies have already started to develop air taxis – just think of the Volocopter, Lilium, which is also featured here, or the Hungarian-based Orca. But the eVTOL craze doesn’t stop there: the Australian company Alauda Racing has been developing its own Airspeeder racing drone for years, and now, according to an article in Input magazine, it looks like it could face competition from the French team Maca Flight.
Maca Flight has thrown itself into the eVTOL competition with a vengeance: a 1:3 scale model of the S11 vehicle was on display at this year’s CES, and a virtual test drive was also available for the more enthusiastic visitors to the company’s pavilion, using augmented reality. The startup hopes to build the first test example this year and, if all goes according to plan, to start mass production in 2023.
Measuring around 7 metres in length and weighing 600 kg, the S11 would be powered by a total of 6 electric motors, each with a power output of 35kW, which would allow the vehicle to reach a top speed of 246 km/h. The S11 would use hydrogen as fuel, reducing the vehicle’s emissions to virtually zero. The fuselage of the air car would be made of composite materials, mostly carbon fibre reinforced flax. The vehicle would also include a predictive driver assistance system with artificial intelligence to avoid accidental collisions.
The S11 is initially planned to be tested without a driver on a track used for racing. Maca plans to place sensors around the track to help the autopilots work and avoid crashes.
While the Maca Flight S11 is still on the drawing board, the startup’s CEO Thierry de Boisvilliers says there is not long to wait for the first test example, as the design process has made use of many existing patents, shortening the path from design to production. However, the promising vehicle is already facing stiff competition before it is even born: while the S11 is still only a concept, Swedish companies such as Jetson and Alauda Racing, mentioned at the beginning of this article, already have working prototypes, and the Australian start-up has already completed its first drag race with real test examples.