An Australian startup called Alauda has an ambition to fast-track that reality with its electric, low-altitude aircraft, the Airspeeder Mark I.
Alauda is founded by Matt Pearson, who also cofounded space startup Fleet. Over the past two years, Pearson has been working on the project as part of a team of five in a Sydney warehouse.
Unlike the DeLorean, Pearson’s Airspeeder Mark I is a quadcopter — essentially a bigger version of a drone, with a single seat for the pilot.
“About three years ago I started to look at hover technology, and magnetic hovering. The problem with that is you need to build a track as well as the vehicle. You can’t just build a magnetic hover car and fly it on any road, you need to build the road,” Pearson explained to Mashable.
Surefly has a top speed of 70 mph, and its max takeoff weight is estimated to be 1,500 pounds. It has a gasoline piston engine that drives dual generators to provide power to the motors. Surefly can get up to one hour of flight time per tank of gasoline. It can go as high as 4,000 feet, and it comes with full computer and electrical redundancy systems. The emergency battery power system lasts for five minutes, but passengers can always resort to using the ballistic parachute system in extreme cases.