Just Visiting
Tuesday | March 2, 2021
Goodwood Festival of Speed: Living in the Future

Goodwood Festival of Speed: Living in the Future

The Goodwood Festival of Speed is the world’s biggest motoring extravaganza. For a weekend every summer the world-famous hillclimb track roars as every kind of car makes the famous ascent – while the most exciting off-road machinery thunders around the forest rally stage.

Vast booths built by every car manufacturer rise in every corner of Goodwood’s grounds. Hundreds of thousands of visitors take in the smells, sights and sounds of the show – while consuming food, drink and petrol fumes.

A transformation occurs in this little corner of Southern England. In the middle of it all you’ll find the FoS Future Lab. This, more than anywhere else, is where the biggest transformations are taking place.

It’s where the Festival of Speed welcomes the world’s most futuristic, forward-thinking companies to show off the latest technology to a huge audience – often for the first time.

HardwareHeaven.com was invited to Goodwood on the first day of this year’s festival for a tour of the Future Lab – and for a closer look at this year’s key exhibitors. Keep reading to find out what we saw – and what we thought of the flying race cars, robots, autonomous vehicles and record-breaking electric cars that were on show.

Goodwood Festival of Speed: Alauda Future?

The most exciting part of the day’s events was a special demonstration of the technology behind Alauda Aeronautics’ Airspeeder concept.

Alauda calls Airspeeder the “next generation of racing”, and it’s hard to disagree: it’s going to feature elite pilots flying electric multicopters in head-to-head contests.

The firm claims that its new racing league hovers at the intersection between motorsports and esports, and is designed for the 21st century and beyond – because the whole league is innovative, high-performance, and driven by the future in an environmentally-friendly way. DHL and money-management firm Equals are already on-board as sponsors, so people clearly believe in the vision.

Airspeeder is the idea of Alauda Aeronautics founder Matt Pearson. He’s a South African entrepreneur and has based his company in Australia. He was on hand for Airspeeder’s test flight at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, and talked with excitement about his vision.

‘Since I was fifteen, I’ve wanted to build a flying car’, he explained. ‘It’s only in the last few years that the technology has got to the point where it’s possible.’

So, why racing? ‘We needed a catalyst,’ said Pearson. ‘We looked at the early days of aviation and motorsport, and realised that they turbo-charged their industries. So we believe that racing is the way forward.’

Goodwood are fully on-board, too. ‘They were very excited,’ said Pearson, who also claimed that the festival has been trying to get a flying car demonstration ‘for ages’.

The FoS Future Lab is home to Alauda’s MK4 speeder. It’s a single-pilot device that is specifically built to race, and it looks spectacular: a cockpit that looks like a sleeker version of an F1 car, and with 60-inch propellers at each corner rather than wheels.

A 500Kw battery powers the speeders. They have the same power-to-weight ratio as a fighter jet – and a greater power-to-weight ratio than an F1 car.

The batteries are swappable, and they last for fifteen minutes – so pilots will have to make pit-stops to change batteries, at least when Airspeeder begins and before battery technology improves.

Each MK4 speeder weighs 250kg and has a top speed of 200kph. And, with a four-metre flying height, they’re not going to be so far off the ground that spectators can’t see them.

On paper, then, the speeders are spectacular. And they’re pretty impressive when they take to the air, too.

We were shown a demonstration flight that used a ¾ model of Alauda’s MK2 speeder, which was built in 2018. It’s still an impressive, sleek device in its own right, and the evolution from the flying MK2 to the Future Lab’s prototype MK4 can clearly be seen.

Pearson introduced the craft before one of his pilots controlled it from the ground. ‘I can’t promise a smooth landing,’ he said, ‘because things don’t always go to plan. But it should be exciting!’

He wasn’t wrong.

The Airspeeder was initially excellent. It launched quickly and ascended rapidly, and made several laps of Goodwood’s famous Aerodrome. The Airspeeder is fast, nimble and manoeuvrable – all key attributes for top-quality racing.

There’s no doubt that this machine has the ability to be used in a racing league – and look spectacular while doing it.

It sounds solid, too, like a petrol engine with the noise ratcheted up a couple of octaves. The Airspeeder doesn’t sound as beefy as an F1 car, obviously, but it does sound exciting.

However, after a couple of impressive demonstration laps, the Airspeeder begun to rise high into the sky. And it didn’t stop. The craft had risen hundreds of feet into the air and was hovering above the assembled media. We’d gathered on the roof of a building at Goodwood Aerodrome. Alauda then ushered us inside for our own safety.

The media pack headed indoors, and we soon spotted the Airspeeder. It was a few hundred metres away, outside of the Aerodrome, plummeting to the ground. It descended quickly, behind a line of trees, and fell to the floor at speed.

It’s fair to say that the Airspeeder’s big Goodwood Festival of Speed debut was not an absolute success. After all, the craft lost control, rose high in the sky, and crashed to the floor.

However, there’s still plenty to be excited about. The Airspeeder’s initial flight was impressive, with admirable speed and agility on show from the MK2 prototype. The MK4 looks fantastic. The prospect of pilots racing through the air in these nimble, electric craft is exhilarating, and Pearson clearly reckons that he can make it work. We’re excited to see how Airspeeder develops.

Want more new tech? Here’s our complete guide to new AMD Ryzen 3000 series processors – including performance, pricing and architecture details!

Volkswagen’s Record-Breaking Run at the Goodwood Festival of Speed

The hillclimb at the Goodwood Festival of Speed is an iconic centrepiece of a stunning weekend. It’s a familiar, eye-catching strip of tarmac that invites all kinds of cars to try and cover the course as quickly as they can.

And, this year, a car went up the hill at a pace that has never been matched.

The Volkswagen ID. R is the firm’s first electric racer. This prototype features two electric motors that produce a total of 680bhp and 649Nm of torque – fearsome statistics. It weighs just 1,100kg, and it reaches 60mph from a standing start in a lightning-quick 2.25 seconds.

The ID. R already holds the record for the fastest electric vehicle to lap the infamous Nürburgring. It’s the overall record holder for the Pikes Peak hillclimb. And now, with decorated driver Romain Dumas at the helm, it’s the record-holder at Goodwood too.

Volkswagen’s stunning machine actually broke the record twice over the Goodwood weekend. Initially on Friday it delivered a top time of 41.18s, and then on Saturday it nailed the hillclimb with an even better result of 39.9s.

Nick Heidfeld claimed the previous record in a McLaren F1 car way back in 1999.

We saw the Volkswagen in a practice session on our Thursday visit to the Festival of Speed. It’s hard to even comprehend the pace on offer from this car – and that’s before the record was even broken. It’s so fast that it just doesn’t look real.

The ID. R is a sensational vehicle. We’re excited to see what comes next for the ID. R – and how other auto manufacturers will respond.

Here’s the complete guide to the best AMD X570 motherboards on the market right now!

The Future of Flying Cars?

The Alauda Airspeeder wasn’t the only flying car on show at the Goodwood Festival of Speed Future Lab. AeroMobil occupied a huge berth inside the Future Lab with its superb version 4.0 device – a winged craft that can be used on the road and in the air.

It’s an aerodynamic beast. It’s got a stunning wraparound windscreen, two huge wings that can be folded into the fuselage for road use, and a stunning rear section that combines flight hardware and rear suspension to deliver a smooth, effective experience – no matter the situation.

Goodwood Festival of SpeedOn the inside, the Aeromobil looks like a super-modern car, with two comfortable seats, touchscreens everywhere, and a wheel that looks like a half-way house between aircraft and car control systems. It’s sleek and stunning – and from what we saw at Goodwood, it offers the best of both worlds.

The AeroMobil 4.0 is powered by an internal combustion boxer engine with a turbocharger, with 300bhp of power available during flight. On the ground, the craft switches to a hybrid system that develops 110bhp.

It’s impressive, and it’s imposing too. With its wings extended the Aeromobil 4.0 is 8.8mm wide, and it’s 5.9mm long. Without the wings opened it’s 2.2mm wide – so a little wider than a family saloon car – and it weighs far less than a ton. So, while this vehicle impresses, parking at the supermarket may be an issue.

Goodwood Festival of Speed

AeroMobil promises a 100km driving range for this device and a 750km flying range – so you’ve got scope for significant journeys. And, if you want to switch from ground to air, the transformation takes less than three minutes.

The AeroMobil 4.0 is available for pre-order, with the firm promising deliveries in 2020. It’s not going to be cheap, though: it’ll cost between $1.3 and $1.6 million dollars.

Nevertheless, the firm is already looking to the future with its AeroMobil 5.0 concept. It looks even more futuristic than the 4.0, and it’s going to up the capacity to four seats rather than two. It’ll also have vertical take-off, adaptive wings, improved range and better rear extension and control surfaces for enhanced stability and in-flight comfort – alongside adaptive suspension for smoother landings.

Need more news on the latest kit? Click here to check out the latest headlines.

Solar-Powered Travel?

Electric cars formed a big part of the FoS Future Lab. The Lightyear One was unveiled at the show, and it’s a fantastic-looking machine – as stylish and sleek as any other sports car on the market, and its cost of around $170,000 isn’t much different either.

There’s also the little matter of it being the world’s first long-range solar car.

Goodwood Festival of SpeedThere’s a stunning amount of technology inside the Lightyear One. The roof and bonnet include five square metres of solar cells that are used to power the car, and they help the Lightyear One provide 750km of range while charging the car as you drive – for free. Screens cover the interior, and heads will turn at the sight of this machine.

Goodwood Festival of SpeedIt’s expensive at the moment, sure, and using the solar panels to charge the car will only add 12km of range to the battery per hour.

We just hope that future models increase the range and reduce the price so we can afford to invest.

Here’s Our Guide to the Best PCs for Work, Play and Everything In Between

Kar-Go Shorts

One of the other big vehicle launches that we attended at the Goodwood Festival of Speed Future Lab is Kar-go: an autonomous delivery vehicle that’s designed to dramatically reduce the cost and increase the sustainability of online shopping deliveries.

The device is designed by The Academy of Robotics, which is based at the University of Aberystwyth – an institution on the west coast of Wales. The firm has already raised more than half a million dollars of funding, both from crowd-funding efforts and private investors.

Goodwood Festival of Speed

Kar-go tackles the tricky, expensive “last mile” delivery situation, where slow, fragmented and unpredictable conditions at the end of a delivery trip mean the cost skyrockets. If it succeeds, Kar-go will remove 90% of the cost associated with this part of the process.

The Academy of Robotics’ uses its own designs and blueprints to build Kar-go in the UK. The AI chip on the inside is an Nvidia Drive supercomputer. It uses neural networks and AI to analyse and navigate the streets without issue. Detection and tracking technology works to avoid collisions.

Its FoS Future Lab debut saw the firm unveil the striking green machine. It has a bubble-shaped design and a roof covered with solar panels. Impressively, it drove right out of its building and around the festival site flawlessly. That’s instant proof that it works as intended.

Goodwood Festival of SpeedIt’s covered with lighting so it’s always visible. It’s about two metres long and just over a metre tall. It’s large enough to handle sizeable packages, but smaller than the vast majority of cars.

Impressively, Kar-go uses GPS systems to deliver packages directly to your actual location, rather than address. That’s handy if you’re not staying in the same place. The team behind Kar-go also reckons that this vehicle could run on roads, rather than on pavements.

Unfortunately, there’s currently no firm launch date for Kar-go – and no companies have currently committed to using Kar-go for deliveries. But it’s a deeply impressive bit of kit, and we can’t wait to see it on the streets.

Head here for the latest information on the status of ray-tracing on the entire Nvidia range of GPUs!

FoS Future Lab: A Look Ahead

The FoS Future Lab was filled with other exciting bits of tech, including Huawei’s 5G technology, new phone and 3D printing hardware from Samsung, and more 5G tech from Vodafone.

Global medical company Randox also showed off incredible diagnostic technologies – including biochips that can help deliver faster, more accurate medical information. Siemens occupied a big platform at the FoS Future Lab, showing off its clean hydrogen fuel cells alongside more electric vehicle technology – including the Aston Martin Rapide E.

We witnessed the UK debut of the Case IH autonomous tractor, which could revolutionize farming, and the EXOMars Rover, which the European Space Agency and Airbus have manufactured together for autonomous exploration of the red planet. We also saw a simulator version of the Triton Submarine – the device which has gone deeper into our oceans than any other.

The centerpiece of the FoS Future Lab, though, was an artwork called The Emergent City. It’s sponsored by Mastercard and has been put together by Stanza – a London-based artist who has been exhibiting since 1984. The Emergent City is part of Mastercard’s City Possible scheme, which explores the future of urban environments.

The artwork is designed to ‘reimagine the possibilities for cities in response to population growth,’ according to Sapah Shah, Mastercard’s head of enterprise partnerships. ‘Cities have been getting smarter since their inception. But any new technology needs to bring the community along to creative inclusive and dynamic places to live,’ explained Shah.

Goodwood Festival of Speed

Stanza’s The Emergent City certainly lived up to that billing. It’s a vast piece of work that stretched across most of the FoS Future Lab. Stanza has used motherboards, memory sticks, CPUs, RGB LEDs and hundreds of feet of cabling to create an incredible installation.

It truly did look like a cityscape that represented every kind of urban environment. Dark and light is visible throughout. Flashing lights look like people and angry traffic jams. LED displays showed off constantly-changing stream of data feeds, media sources and sensor results.

The Emergent City was a fitting way to end our visit to the Goodwood Festival of Speed and the FoS Future Lab.

After all, this installation is a stunning bit of tech – but, like everything else in the Future Lab, it’s got a critical eye on the planet as well as a handle on the planet’s most impressive technology. It’s a thought-provoking balance of the best technology and most daunting challenges we face – and it also shows how people are tackling them, both now and in the future.

Did you visit the Goodwood Festival of Speed and the FoS Future Lab? Would you like to go in the future? Which new technology most excites you? Head to our Facebook and Twitter page to join the discussion and give us your opinion!

Goodwood Festival of Speed Future Lab

About Author

Mike Jennings

It appears you have AdBlocking activated

Unfortunately AdBlockers interfere with the shopping cart process

To continue with the payment process can we ask you to

deactivate your AdBlocking plugin

or to whitelist this site. Then refresh the page

We thank you for your understanding

Hardwareheaven respect you right to employ plugins such as AdBlocker.
We would however ask you to consider whitelisting this site
We do not allow intrusive advertising and all our sponsors supply items
relevant to the content on the site.

Hardwareheaven Webmaster