Telstra and Airspeeder team up to get racing multicopter series off the ground

Telstra 5G network to be used for vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communications.

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Image: Airspeeder

Telstra Purple and Airspeeder have signed what is being dubbed as a "multi-million dollar technical partnership" for the telco to deliver the race-control system for the Exa racing series.

The business services arm of the telco will provide a private 5G network that will handle the terabytes of data sent for vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communications, as well data visualisation, edge compute power, and app development.

Since it involves 5G and sport, one of the use cases cited was augmented reality for spectators.

Telstra Purple has signed up for an initial 12 months that will see the remotely-piloted racing multicopter series get off the ground. The Exa series is slated to be held in three locations with four teams racing identical vehicles. Due to the remote locations that are expected to be chosen, watching the races will only be possible via streaming.

Airspeeder says it has robotic avatars in place of humans in the cockpit that mimic movements made by a pilot in an on-ground simulator, in order to provide information on how rapid acceleration and deceleration could affect humans -- it is hoped the new generation of vehicles will be crewed in 2022. The vehicles include lidar and radar collision avoidance systems, have a top speed of 200 kilometres per hour, and fly under 40 metres from the ground, Telstra said.

The first vehicle prototype was flown in 2017, and a test flight of the racing vehicle happened in June.

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