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Matt Hall races through virtual Shibuya skies

written by Jake Nelson | October 10, 2023

Red Bull Air Race world champion pilot Matt Hall. (Image: Steve Vojkovic)

Australian Red Bull Air Race world champion pilot Matt Hall will take part in a new augmented-reality air race tournament this week.

Air Race X will see pilots race at various global sites on a “tight and technical track” at speeds of up to 370km/h and maximum gravity acceleration of 12G, with the flight data then used to create virtual, augmented and mixed-reality images of the planes racing each other.

“Air Race X is experimental at this stage and can be tough to get your head around. It’s pilots racing at remote locations around the world, sending their flight data back to a central location to create correlating flight paths of computer-generated race planes through a race track,” said Hall.

“The computer-generated race planes are then edited to appear as though the pilots are racing through the streets of the host city, which in this case is Shibuya, Japan.”


During the race week, pilots race in their own time at large paddocks or other open spaces, with data processed against “various penalties and algorithms”, including location-based scoring factors. Pilots are able to assign each race against their choice of competitors in any order.

“It is a pretty complex flying schedule but ultimately it’s like most racing where competitors must lead the rounds to qualify for finals with the fastest times and least penalties,” said Hall.

“We can race any pilot at any time but have to submit our data within 90 minutes of racing.”

There are six days of qualifying rounds starting on 8 October, with the final Shibuya Digital Round to be held on 15 October.

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