Airspeeder teams up with EMG for world’s first live broadcast of flying car series

Airspeeder has partnered with EMG on the first live broadcast test of an Airspeeder race to 100 guests in the Australian outback.

EMG Connectivity together with Aerial Camera Systems (ACS), has achieved the successful live broadcast of the EXA Series Championship. The event featured three competing Airspeeder electric flying cars.

With Airspeeder seeking to establish itself as the ‘Formula 1 of the Sky’, it needed a robust media technology infrastructure capable of facilitating global live broadcasts with high-quality coverage to audiences worldwide.

“We envision enhancing camera mounts, expanding broadcasting capabilities to filming drones, and integrating live AR graphics to elevate the viewer experience”

EMG was approached by the Airspeeder team to address the challenges inherent in broadcasting live events from fast-moving aerial vehicles. The collaboration aimed to serve as a proof of concept and posed a unique set of challenges.

While current eVTOL craft are operated remotely, future plans involve manned flights, heightening the importance of ensuring the safety of both pilots and craft. Consideration was also given to the limited space within the craft and the additional weight of cameras, RF units, and ancillary equipment.

Also, as races are conducted in remote locations, ensuring reliable RF signal availability and connectivity emerged as crucial factors. Navigating the complexities of live broadcasting from fast-moving aerial vehicles required planning and innovative solutions to safeguard onboard systems and spectators.

In a case study published on the EMG website, the company set out how it tackled the challenges.

An initial conversation at an EMG demo day about EMG Connectivity’s extensive broadcast experience with mini cameras in motor sports led to a ‘lightbulb moment’ for both companies, EMG said.

EMG Connectivity’s expertise in the RF domain together with Aerial Camera Systems’ (ACS) miniature camera technology seemed to be a perfect fit, so a visit to Farnborough, UK was arranged to look at how the equipment might be mounted on the eVTOL craft.

EMG Connectivity designed a battery-powered RF on-board camera system around the Livetools Fusion HEVC transmitter and ACS’ mini cameras for initial testing at Airspeeder’s HQ in Adelaide, Australia.

Following a month of intensive camera and RF spectrum tests while safely on the ground, the aerial trial took place approximately an hour outside Adelaide in the desert.

A key concern for the Airspeeder team was that the Livetools Fusion transmitter would interfere with other RF or GPS systems or even the flight control systems on the craft, resulting in a “tense” first test flight. However, EMG Connectivity’s RF system proved reliable and free of interference with any other system.

There followed a test at the Series Championship in December 2023, where the camera spec was to supply Airspeeder 1 with four onboard cameras and Airspeeders 2 & 3 with one onboard camera each.

At the heart of each Airspeeder was a Livetools Fusion HEVC transmitter transmitting simultaneous signals from each camera back to the outside broadcast facility.

Along with the onboard cameras, there were also three filming drones – capturing the live in race action – successfully creating what EMG has billed as “the world’s first simultaneous live broadcast of an aerial car race”.

EMG Connectivity commercial director Chris Brandrick said: “Participating in the world’s inaugural flying car race series is an extremely exciting project to be involved with. It’s not just about racing in the air; it’s about stretching the limits of possibility and embracing the excitement of innovation. Partnering with Airspeeder enables us to contribute to the evolution of this thrilling race series and continually explore new ideas.”

Phase two includes fine-tuning camera mounts and tackling issues of power for more cameras and higher RF spectrum availability in remote locations. Another area of development will be the addition of broadcast graphics, which will provide the viewer with crucial information about races as well as Airspeeder craft and pilot information and statistics.

“Looking ahead, the successful proof of concept achieved by Airspeeder and EMG sets the stage for further innovation and deepening collaboration,” said Stephen Sidlo, director of media and marketing, Airspeeder.

“Together, we envision enhancing camera mounts, expanding broadcasting capabilities to filming drones, and integrating live AR graphics to elevate the viewer experience. These unique live views will not only captivate sports audiences but also serve as a proof of concept for major advanced air mobility markets and modern air traffic control solutions for eVTOLs.”

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