Ever wanted to recreate the speeder chase in ‘Return of the Jedi’? Apparently it is now possible to actually do it without sci-fi technology. While it is not a spectator sport yet, it is becoming more and more popular with France’s forest race and the first US national drone racing championship organized last summer.
France’s Airgonay club first organized a drone race through a forest using a combination of cameras and wearable displays to immerse pilots in the action. Racers had to both dodge around trees and other drones that could come from virtually any direction which makes the race extremely thrilling and challenging. A few competitors had to retreat to a repair area to fix broken rotor blades and other damage.
The first US national drone racing championship took place in the summer of 2015 in California with around 120 participants.
The sport of first-person view (FPV) drone racing is still in its infancy. It involves small, custom-built drones with cameras attached to them that broadcast video feeds back to specially-designed goggles that allow pilots to see what the drones see. The drones are fast and nimble, and can hit speeds nearing 70 mph.
The group’s Herve Pellarin even predicts that drones will get virtual lasers to “shoot down” opponents. Whether this will ever come true or not, it surely is a fun way for drone enthusiasts to show off their skills and share their knowledge.