Telstra Purple has partnered with electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) manufacturer Alauda Aeronautics, providing people and technology to help launch a "flying car" racing series.
Through the partnership, which is set for an initial 12 months, the IT services arm of Telstra will provide a near real-time virtual race-control system for Alauda’s Airspeeder EXA series.
Consisting of private network communications, data visualisation, edge compute power, proximity sensors and bespoke app development, the system will feed technical information to ground crews during test flights and races.
Additionally, Telstra Purple will also leverage 5G technology for spectators through augmented and virtual reality devices and provide sponsorship to raise awareness of the EXA series.
There’s also potential for the partnership to evolve past the 12-month period, according to Paul Nicholls, digital transformation executive at Telstra Purple.
“As our relationship is early in the stage, we've got a number of people working on this across multiple towers across our infrastructure team and digital teams," he said.
“This is a commitment for 12 months to really get to the kick-off of the race series and help bring the first phase, and then we'll work out where it goes from there, because this has got a few different directions it could go.
“Whatever we've done today, it's going to continue in different forms as we move forward," he added.
The racing series has been in the works for some time, as initial flights took place near Adelaide in June, the IT services provider claimed.
Telstra Purple was seen as a “natural partner” for the EXA series, according to Airspeeder CEO Matthew Pearson, as its current technology expertise in low latency links, 5G and edge capability were viewed as a big advantage.
“As a leader in the region, we want to work with partners that can also take this vision out to a really wide audience in Australia, around the region, around the world, building [an] audience and making sure we can do things with mixed reality/augmented reality,” he said.
“It's one thing to go and get the vehicle flying and get the multiple vehicles in the air in close proximity in a desert somewhere, but that means nothing unless we have an audience that's able to watch and understand exactly where the course is and what the pilots are battling with.”
Telstra Purple's involvement with Alauda is the latest partnership for the IT services provider, following its involvement in a multimillion-dollar communications refresh for mining equipment supplier Komatsu in June.